With the growth in high deductible health plan enrollment, it was inevitable that hospitals might have to think harder about collection practices. A whole industry has grown up to help them think about it. See, for instance, an article about CarePayment's relationship with Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Indiana. Of course, there has also sprung up a counter industry designed to help patients deal with being on the receiving end of health care collection practices. You can visit, for example, a firm called Claim Jockey and learn more about how this business model has been applied to long term care insurance billing.
But I want to note that, whatever the enticement of higher accounts receivable, much of this effort is to put a more humane face on hospital collection practices. This is because those very practices have attracted negative attention from the tax authorities that consider tax exempt status for hospitals.
Over the past week, I have attended a few legislative roundup presentations discussing health care wins and losses in the recently ended Missouri and Kansas legislative sessions. Each time, the presenter would discuss a (different) relatively non-controversial bill that failed even to get out of committee, musing that the state hospital associations were behind the bill and how that might have been the problem.