As the owner of a dental practice, you have probably dealt with non-paying patients in the past. With high number of accounts receivable going into collections, your staff has probably made many dental debt collection calls to patients and former patients. Regardless of the reason they can’t pay, there are certain responses which patients are going to give you when they receive this call. So, what should you know, and what should you expect when making dental debt collection calls? These are a few of the most common responses given by patients who haven’t paid, or have been ignoring your attempts to collect for quite some time.
Dental Debt Collection Calls
My Insurance Covered It, Right?
One of the most common excuses you are going to hear when making dental debt collection calls from patients is that they were under the impression that their insurer was going to pay the bill. In fact, this is one of the most common reason for unpaid portions of bills, when patients don’t know how much their insurer covers, and how much they had to pay. Some forget there is a copay, while others simply believe the entire bill is covered by their insurer.
So, what should your staff say in these situations? A good way to handle these calls is to say:” We are sorry for the confusion and are happy to go over your insurance at the next visit. However, you currently owe $XXX, how would you like to pay for this today?” By simply asking how the patient is going to pay, rather than telling them you are going to send out another bill, it forces them to make a payment, rather than giving you another excuse. It is a smooth transition which typically results in having the bill paid in full, without insulting the patient. Further, it lets them know that for future visits, their insurer is not going to pay the entire bill, so you do not have to worry about another account going into past due accounts.
How Much Is The Bill?
Another common reason patients simply don’t pay, and make the dental debt collection calls so difficult is that they didn’t expect the total amount to be as much as it was. This is more common with self pay, rather than insured patients. One option for your practice to consider is to offer setting up a payment arrangement when making the call about their bill. If they can’t pay it all up front, set up a smaller monthly amount, which allows them to pay the total over a period of several months. Although it will take a bit longer to collect, at least your practice is not going to lose the total amount of the patient’s unpaid debt.
Further, you can go on to inform patients you will go over in detail with them, the full cost of a procedure, the next time they visit the office. This will in turn allow them to evaluate what they can afford, and which work they have to do right away, and which type of work can wait until a future visit.
You never know what excuse you will hear, but these two are among the most common when dental offices make the dental debt collection calls. Being prepared for these responses will not only help your staff say the right thing and collect on unpaid debts, but also avoids the potential of insulting a patient, who will completely ignore your calls in the past. Further, it ensures patients are made aware of bills, costs, and their responsibility to pay, for future visits to the office.
Dental Debt Collection Calls
If you are tired of making dental debt collection calls, and the same old response from patients with each call, our dental collection agency can step in to help. Not only do we know how to deal with these responses, we know which methods to take with patients who give us these responses, and are trying to avoid paying their past due account. We are not only going to reduce the total past due accounts you currently have, but will help eliminate the occurrence in the future as well.
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