Is “Cash for the Internet” the Future of Dental Billing and Collections?
We frequently talk about ways to improve patient payment procedures or how to save money or increase efficiencies during the dental billing and collections process. From online payment portals to allowing patients to pay their bill directly on their billing statements, there seems to be more and more options for patients as technology advances and the financial/healthcare world progresses.
Supporting this growing trend of increasing debt settlement options in healthcare collections, an interesting story recently came out about a collection agency in Florida that made headlines by becoming the first collection agency to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment from its client’s debtors. The collection agency, Johnson, Morgan, & White, believes that by allowing its clients debtors to pay with Bitcoin (more on what Bitcoin is later) that it will make it easier for its clients to satisfy their debts, while reducing the costs of collection in the process.
Johnson, Morgan, & White owner Robert Cooper believes that providing more options for payment is advantageous for all parties involved. “We believe that accepting any payment method available is in the best interest of our clients. That is our main driver,” said Cooper. “Additionally, the instant payment aspect alongside the lack of bounced checks and/or credit card chargebacks made our decision simple.”
As defined by the company’s official website, Bitcoins are essentially “cash for the Internet” and can be used to pay for goods and services (including debts) and have the capability of instantaneous processing and relatively small transaction fees (compared to credit card fees which are typically around 2-3%).
While I.C. System does not currently accept or encourage our dental clients to venture into the world of Bitcoin, what we find most interesting about this story is the collection agency’s innovativeness and emphasis on improving the bill pay process and saving their clients time and money. We too are constantly trying to develop methods and dental collection strategies that can improve the patient experience while maximizing our client’s recoveries. And although we agree with the Florida collection agency in that making the payment process simpler and more cost-effective is in the best interest of our clients, we are still unsure of the potential use of Bitcoin in the debt collection environment, especially in healthcare collections.
With that said, we are curious to hear your thoughts on this story and what your initial impressions are of Bitcoin and its potential use in the dental debt collections arena.
What do you see as the main risks of using Bitcoin to pay for debts like dental bills? Are the minimal transaction fees associated with Bitcoin payments a big enough benefit to using this untested and relatively unregulated form of currency?
What other payment options could Bitcoin be paving the way for in dental collections? We’d love to hear what you think and what some of your biggest concerns are regarding this new form of debt payment!