The Intake

Insights for those starting, managing, and growing independent healthcare practices

Patient billing statement best practices to improve medical billing

Apply these strategies to boost patient satisfaction and improve financial outcomes for your practice.

Medical professional helps patient with patient billing statements

At a Glance

  • Patient billing statements often contain complex medical terminology and unclear charges, leaving patients confused and less willing to pay their medical bills.
  • By simplifying billing statements to clearly explain charges in plain language, providing flexible digital payment options, and offering payment plans, practices can significantly improve patient satisfaction and increase collection rates.
  • Streamlining billing statement management with an all-in-one patient solution like Tebra’s can free up staff time spent on billing follow-ups and accelerate payments.

Patient billing is intricately woven into the healthcare journey, yet many practices struggle to ensure timely payments from their patients. The prevalence of medical debt among Americans underscores the urgency of addressing this issue — with 41% burdened by such debt and 24% either unable to pay or past due. While the factors contributing to these late and unpaid medical bills are deeply rooted in the complexities of the American healthcare system, patient billing statements are one that practices can easily address. 

In this article, we'll explore common billing statement challenges and share solutions that will help you create simplified statements that boost financial outcomes for your practice.

Download the workbook

What is a patient statement in medical billing?

A patient statement is a medical bill that can be sent to patients via mail in paper form, or electronically through email or text. Facilitating smooth transactions with patients and promoting financial clarity starts with a clear and well-designed billing statement.

What should a billing statement to a patient include?

Here's what a patient-friendly billing statement should include:

  • Practice information: This should include your practice’s name, address, contact information, and the name of the healthcare provider who treated the patient.
  • Patient details: Include the patient's name, address, date of birth, and any other pertinent information.
  • Service breakdown: Provide a detailed description of services, including dates and corresponding medical codes.
  • Charges: Clearly outline the costs associated with each service, including fees, deductibles, and co-payments. 
  • Clear payment instructions: Identify the payment due date, include clear payment instructions, and provide contact information for billing-related questions.  

How often should patients receive a billing statement?

The frequency of sending statements will depend on your practice's needs. However, to minimize time in between payments, consider sending statements soon after your patient acquires a balance. For patients who have outstanding balances, a general frequency is sending statements to them monthly until the balance is cleared.

Deploying email balance reminders or text balance reminders can accelerate patient collections and drive online payments.

Learn how to automate patient payments with Tebra.

Additional patient billing statement best practices

Unclear billing statements and inconvenient delivery methods are 2 of the most common yet often overlooked obstacles that hinder timely payments. By re-evaluating these steps on your patient journey, you can simplify patient billing statements to enhance patient understanding and streamline financial transactions for everyone involved.

Bear in mind that as a medical provider, you possess a level of medical knowledge that your patients likely do not have. To ensure you’re creating bills that your patients can easily understand and increase their willingness to pay, statements should be:

  • Clear and concise: Your patients should be able to understand their bill at a glance. Provide an itemized bill that clearly explains each charge and breaks down complex medical jargon into simpler language. 
  • Easy to read: Use different fonts and colors to highlight important details such as their outstanding balance, due date, and accepted payment methods. 
  • Delivered electronically: Provide patient statements electronically whenever possible to improve efficiency and promote digital payments.
  • Accessible: Everyone’s financial system is different. Offer a wide variety of payment options such as credit cards, online banking, or payment plans to accommodate different needs. 

Incorporating these elements into your billing statements will enhance patient clarity, encourage prompt payments, and improve the overall patient experience.

Patient-friendly payment practices

Although managing only 1 or 2 payment channels may be easier and more cost-effective for your practice, prioritizing the preferences of your patients is paramount. For instance, older patients may struggle with digital payment methods, while younger patients may not have the set-up required for paying via check.

Implementing these best practices will ensure you're covering all the bases when it comes to your patients' billing preferences and supporting timely payments.

  • Verify patient balance: Up to 80% of medical bills contain errors. To ensure transparency and promote trust, always double-check patient bills for accuracy before sending them out.
  • Offer various payment options: Tebra’s Patient Perspectives survey found that more than half of all patients prefer digital payment options. By providing flexible payment options that cater to your patient demographic, you can increase collection rates by over 20%.
  • Provide clear payment instructions: Make sure your patient billing statements provide easy-to-follow payment directions. This should include accepted payment methods, associated deadlines (or instructions for setting up payment plans), and contact information for any billing inquiries. 

While effective billing practices can eliminate common barriers to payment, managing billing can be a time-consuming process for your team. With an all-in-one patient management solution, you can enhance your practice’s billing efficiency, simplify the payment process for your patients, and minimize the time your team spends following up on outstanding balances.

Collect more payments faster with Tebra’s patient statements management solution.

Get the playbook

Overcoming challenges of patient collections

While patient billing poses significant challenges for both healthcare providers and patients, it's important to recognize that their respective challenges differ significantly. On one hand, providers grapple with the time-consuming process of maintaining accurate billing and following up on outstanding balances. 

Meanwhile, patients struggle to decode bills laden with complex medical terminology, all while shouldering an increasing financial burden for medical care (even despite insurance coverage). The result? Confused, financially-strained patients and delayed practice payment cycles.

As patients assume more responsibility for their healthcare expenses, their desire for transparent medical billing has intensified. ”

As patients assume more responsibility for their healthcare expenses, their desire for transparent medical billing has intensified. In fact, 65% of patients indicate that their satisfaction is closely tied to understanding the costs of their care

The good news? With a few strategic tweaks to your billing statements, you can simultaneously boost patient satisfaction and improve financial outcomes for your practice.

Optimize Operations
Get the free guide
Unlock the secrets to building a profitable and sustainable healthcare practice with our eBook, "How to Optimize Operations and Increase Margins as You Grow."
Optimize Your Practice for Profitable Growth

You Might Also Be Interested In

Crack the code for beating medical billing challenges with this free workbook — which provides tips around improving patient collections, streamlining claims submissions, and reducing rejections and denials.

Subscribe to The Intake:
A weekly check-up for your independent practice

Kali Armstrong

Kali Armstrong is an experienced content writer with a background in sciences and storytelling. Her passion for writing led her to receive a BA in communication from the University of Calgary. She believes healthcare should be accessible to all, and aims to provide educational content that empowers individuals to understand their health. Prior to writing for The Intake, she contributed to Forbes, Thrive Global, and Inc.

Get expert tips, guides, and valuable insights for your healthcare practice