Act Now and Boost Collections During This Tax Refund Season

With the start of the new year, many also start to think about the upcoming tax season and when they can get their IRS income tax refund. Tis the season for taxes as people say.

During the 2019 filing season, about 72% of consumers who filed a tax return received an average refund of $2,781 according to IRS statistics. That’s already a good amount people can use to pay down their debts.

According to the National Retail Federation, 35% of consumers who are expecting a tax refund said they would use it to pay down debt.

As such, Mnet is helping patients get off on the right financial foot for 2020 by helping them to pay down their debt. Here are some strategies Mnet uses to maximize collections during tax refund season:

Early and strategic patient financial communications

Before refunds even hit consumers’ pockets, we deliver patient financial communication in the most consumer-friendly manner. In 2019, nearly 50% of taxpayers filed on or before March 15 — well before the April 15 deadline. In addition, approximately 50% of all refunds were issued on or before March 15 according to IRS data. Hence the early months of the first quarter of the year are critical to engaging with past-due customers.

As patients get their tax return refunds, they review their current financial situation. In many cases, past-due medical bills are not at the top of their list because other debtors charge higher interest rates or offer settlements for payments in full. But well-timed touchpoints and personalized messages could influence who consumers would pay back first.

The first thing that Mnet does is to ensure it has updated contact information to ensure each patient's communication counts whether by direct mail or online campaigns. Skipping this step wastes tons of money and time.

Mnet uses consumer-friendly patient engagement strategies to stay on the mind of patients and to give them a compelling reason to pay their medical bills (e.g. discounts for payments in full).

Targeted outreach and assessing propensity to pay 

Knowing which patients may receive a refund and who will likely pay their medical debt is critical. Targeting the wrong people can end up wasting a lot of money (e.g. costs of direct mail, advertising, etc.). Patients may have that extra cash, but that doesn’t mean they’re all going to pay their medical debts.

Some people are more likely to pay their medical debts with their refunds than others, so Mnet focuses its outreach to this group first by leveraging multiple data sources.

Propensity to Pay Data

Mnet uses daily payment updates and adjustments on self-pay accounts to enrich data on a patients’ propensity-to-pay aside from leveraging credit and non-credit public records data.

By using propensity to pay data, the time and effort spent unproductively on tracking collections from patients who are unlikely to pay will be significantly eliminated. This technology relies on data from multiple sources to accurately predict patients’ likelihood of default.

Mnet channels more resources to patients with a higher probability of repaying their debts.

Payment Behavior Data

Mnet also leverages data on payment behavior whether a consumer has made a large payment to a tradeline balance (or balances) during tax season. While credit behavior patterns and payment behavior data can predict how consumers are faring on their credit score, it can also be used to predict who may get a tax refund and who is likely to use a refund to pay down delinquent balances.

By anticipating who is likely to receive a refund and use it to pay down debt, Mnet can tailor its messaging, call outreach, and mailings to the right consumers.

By assessing patients’ unique financial situation, Mnet can help optimize collection yield as it will be able to:

  • Focus on accounts with medium to high probability to pay
  • Determine patient ability and willingness to pay
  • Classify patient accounts into the optimal payment workflow

Simplified payment process with financial technology

Mnet has over 15 years of experience in optimizing patient collections through innovative financing solutions that leverage technology to simplify the payment process for patients and providers.

Patients are always looking for flexible and hassle-free means of payment. Mnet lets patients have easy access to an interactive online account that provides actionable data on their financial obligations and makes it easy for them to make payments. Actionable data, such as what is covered by their insurance plans, payments due, and the option of a flexible payment plan are made available to patients.

Strategies for Better Patient Financial Engagement Across Different Generations

As healthcare consumerism continues to rise, ensuring patients have great financial experiences is essential for them to meet their financial obligations. Providers now need to develop better strategies for engaging patients in order to protect their bottom line.

A 2019 Patient Finance survey of 1,000 patient respondents conducted by ORC International revealed that 2 in 5 consumers would switch healthcare providers if it meant they could have access to financing and payment plans.

In addition, a TransUnion survey also found that nearly three-quarters of younger individuals did not pay their patient financial responsibility in full in 2016.

Better patient engagement can significantly improve patient outcomes and boost the bottom line. For providers to provide effective patient engagement, they must understand some subtle; and some not-so-subtle differences in generations.

By understanding generational trends and preferences, providers will be able to forge better relationships with their patients. Key differences may include habits and preferences related to technology, communications, decision-making, and payments.

Here are some patient financial engagement strategies to consider:

More Frequent Communication

According to a survey conducted by Intrado, 64% of Baby Boomers say they wanted providers to communicate more often between appointments. Surprisingly, even more Millennials than boomers say they want to engage with their doctors between appointments as 76% of Millennials wish for more frequent communication.

Online and mobile channels are key to providing frequent communication. According to a 2017 study by LivePerson, 65% of Gen Z and Millennials globally (the U.S figure is even higher at 73.7%) are more likely to communicate via email, text, and social media than in person. Another survey found Millennials prefer texting over email, phone, and social media to communicate with businesses.

Price Transparency Upfront

The TransUnion Healthcare multi-generational survey found that nearly half of Millennials (46%) would be more likely to pay their medical bills if they were provided an estimate of their healthcare costs at the point of service.

A recent survey by PNC Healthcare also found that Millennials are twice as likely as Baby Boomers to request cost estimates before undergoing treatment, often checking prices at multiple locations before making a decision.

Patient Financial Education

In the same TransUnion survey, 57% of Millennials self-reported either ‘no understanding’ or ‘limited understanding’ of their healthcare insurance coverage, compared to 42% of Baby Boomers who said the same.

Millennials do not have a good grasp of different types of health plans or basic health literacy. This could explain in some way their low rates of paying medical bills. For example, more than half of Millennials say they don’t know how a high-deductible health plan works yet 60 percent have that type of policy, according to a survey of 1,900 US employees.

Providers may need to use patient financial advocates to help educate patients and bridge this information gap. They also need to ensure that medical bills and all other patient financial communications do not confuse and frustrate patients.

Here are more key differences across the generations that can help your facility to customize the financial experience for patients:

Millennials (ages 24-35)

When it comes to Millennials, providers need to remember that stronger connections are better when engaging with the patient. In a study of 3,000 Millennials, Nuance Art of Medicine determined that younger consumers prefer strong patient-provider connections:

  • 73% of respondents stated that adequate time for discussion constitutes a better physician visit
  • 66% stated that verbal communication of specific recommendations would also contribute to a good physician visit

To engage Millennials, bills and other patient financial communications (e.g. newsletters and emails) could provide information and links to webinars, podcasts, seminars, and other resources on fitness, health literacy, or nutrition.

Millennials are also looking for messages that are even more personal—one-on-one interactions. For example, offering new parents discounts for baby swimming sessions at the hospital wellness center.

Generation X (ages 36-54)

Those from Generation X have a skeptical and discerning nature that substantially influences their attitudes about healthcare. They are most likely to believe that physicians and facilities care more about money than about patient well-being.

Sending them alerts about necessary follow-ups, medication adherence and even upcoming bills via text message or on a patient portal is the best way to get their attention.

Baby Boomers (ages 55+)

This generation engages more than is often assumed using health technology. The widespread use of smartphones and computers has influenced Baby Boomers’ adoption of technology.

A study from athenaResearch revealed that Baby Boomers are using their patient portals to communicate with their providers. In addition, according to Pew Research, 79% of people age 50-65 go online every day or almost every day.


Considering generational differences in your strategy can help improve the patient financial experience as your facility reaches new patients, communicates with current patients, and handles billing and payment.

Changing processes, policies, or tools to provide a better experience can bring substantial long-term benefits. Although generational trends and tendencies can be helpful, the individual needs and preferences of your patients and the specific trends in your practice ultimately trumps broad demographic profiles.

Healthcare providers that get the patient financial experience right will be able to build patient loyalty, which means repeat business and referrals.

However, no matter how good you do in all areas of care, if you don’t make the financial experience a helpful one, you've lost the patient satisfaction mark altogether.