The recent Federal Communications Commission interpretive ruling on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requires debt collectors to confirm express consent before autodialing a cell phone. This means medical-debt collection agencies—and ultimately, the hospitals they serve—can be held responsible for autodialing wrong numbers when trying to reach someone for bill collection. Noncompliance can result in stiff fines up to $1,500.This TCPA ruling is especially relevant as cell phones continue to replace land lines, and as the healthcare world continues to lag behind in acquiring patient consent for cell phone communications.
The ruling highlights the growing problem in medical-debt collection practices. While health systems report an increase in bad debt as a result of patients with high deductible plans, providers are being hit with the costly fees of collection agencies that can charge up to 30 percent of revenue collected. This high cost is now compounded by the potential fines from the TCPA ruling.
As more patient-friendly options emerge, health systems are starting to change the way they do business by adopting alternative methods to help patients pay off their increasing out-of-pocket balances. OnPlan Health is a unique solution with zero contingency fees that keeps more receivables in-house by preventing unnecessary placement to collection agencies. OnPlan’s sophisticated segmenting engine identifies patients who need help paying their account balances all at once, prequalifies them, and offers a payment plan tailored to their ability to pay. Payment plan options are presented when patients receive their first bill, eliminating the traditional 60-90 day waiting period. With OnPlan, the TCPA regulations are not an issue since there is no need for unsolicited phone calls. Seventy percent of the payment plans activated through OnPlan are self-service—with no inbound or outbound phone calls. Plan offers are communicated via email and paper statement, with multiple options to make payments using a mobile device, home computer, or paper check. Patients can also choose to receive text messages, using a TCPA compliant opt-in method.
For a personal demo of OnPlan Health, please complete our contact page or call us at 224-544-5587. We’d love to show you how OnPlan can transform your patients’ high-deductible payment plans.
For more details on the potential impact of the FCC autodialing regulations, see: