Five Tips for Helping Patients Pay off a Balance

by Michelle Dunn

Medical bills aren’t always like other bills, many times they are not planned for and the bill is an unexpected surprise that some people cannot afford. If a patient doesn’t have insurance, this can be a real problem, especially in this economy where as more and more people lose their jobs they also lose their medical insurance.

As a doctor billing patients when they cannot pay in full at the time of service, you must have policies and procedures in place for your office staff to follow in order to successfully get paid for your services. You should look at it as part of your job to help your patients be able to pay your office. 

With that in mind here are my top five tips for helping your patients pay off a balance due.

  1. Be realistic when talking with patients about payments. If you aren’t realistic, you won’t get paid. Ask them about their income and monthly bills and set a monthly payment they can realistically make, otherwise they won’t make any payment.
  2. Get payments twice a month rather than once a month.  Even if the installment payment is less, if someone is paying twice a month it could be more than one monthly payment, resulting in the bill getting paid quicker.
  3. Put it in writing. Whatever you decide with your patient in regards to their bill, put it in writing and send them a copy.
  4. Follow up. Any collection efforts you put in go down the drain if you don’t follow up.
  5. Offer your patients a couple of solutions. Many people are embarrassed to have a past due balance with you, and want to pay it off as quickly as possible. Offer them a couple of options so they can be part of the decision making process on how they will pay you.

Michelle Dunn, author of The Guide to Getting Paid, is an expert on the topics of credit and collections.  For more information on Michelle, visit www.credit-and-collections.com.  To read more articles like this, visit www.efficiencyinpractice.com and sign up for a complimentary subscription to our Efficiency in Practice enewsletter.

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