Paying a bill at a private practice, discussing payment

Discussing Payment with the Patient/Client: How to be Both Polite AND Effective

You should always assume that a patient/client can afford the recommended treatment when discussing payment with him. Don’t be shy, embarrassed or apologetic about the cost of your services. This can give the appearance that the treatment isn’t worth the fee being charged.

When making financial arrangements, your goal should be to collect the entire fee at the time of service via direct payment and/or verified insurance reimbursement. You should have a well-defined financial policy for patients to read and agree to with regard to payment of service.

It is important that the accounts manager does not give the patient/client the opportunity to say “no”. Never say, “Would you like to take care of that today?” Instead, give her options that are compatible with office policy. For example:

“Mrs. Smith, the fee for today is $50. Will you be paying with cash, check or credit card?”

With such an approach, “no” is simply not an option. Remember, if you make clear financial arrangements in the first place, you won’t have any trouble collecting the amount due.

Suppose there was a misunderstanding and the patient/client tells you she can’t afford to pay the entire balance at the conclusion of the visit. Your reply might be,

“Could you tell me how much you are able to pay at this time?”

The idea here is to get the largest payment possible. Now you need to secure the balance:

“Mrs. Smith, that will leave a balance due of $560. We need to work out an agreement on how that will be taken care of.”

When she agrees to a definite date for the payment of the balance, put the information on a financial agreement form and have her sign it.

If it becomes necessary to offer a monthly payment plan to a patient/client, adhere to the payment schedule as governed by office policy. Do not stray from the established policies.

Fill out the form to learn (1) what to do if someone REALLY can’t afford your service and (2) how to address insurance reimbursement issues with your clients/patients (highly recommended). Scroll to top

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Fill out the form to learn (1) what to do if someone REALLY can’t afford your service and (2) how to address insurance reimbursement issues with your clients/patients (highly recommended).