Medical procedures are expensive for the average Canadian. And one can’t avoid them even if one can’t afford them. Hence, dentists and doctors face the challenge of collecting payments as many patients struggle to pay their bills. Is your dental practice suffering from growing accounts receivables? It means your current efforts to collect payments are not working. It is time to enhance your billing and collection system.
This article will share some tips and suggestions dentists can use to improve their billing and collection process.
Verify Patient’s Dental Insurance and File Claims Regularly
Healthcare is so expensive that many people have dental and medical insurance for emergencies and procedures. At the time of appointment booking, ask patients upfront the details of their dental insurance. It will give you crucial information about the patient’s ability to pay. The dental insurance will give you information about their filing periods, what is covered and not covered in the plan, the annual maximum, any deductibles, or limitations on doctor visits. It will give you a fair idea of what you can claim from the insurance and what you can bill the patient.
Set a procedure to record insurance details and file insurance claims regularly. The faster you file the claims, the faster your dental office gets paid. You can accelerate your claiming process by investing in dental software. With the software, you can electronically address clerical issues like missing information and check the status of your claim.
Inform Patients About The Fees Before Providing Treatment And Collect Payment Upfront
The second step in the billing and payment process is transparency. Don’t keep your patients guessing. Tell them the cost of treatment after examining them. Medical bills are expensive. They can cause a dent in a patient’s cash flows, like late bill payments, cause a dent in yours.
The treatment cost may vary, given the complications, but you can give patients a rough estimate. It will give the patient time to prepare the cash.
For small amounts (less than $200), stress collecting the payment upfront by giving various payment options like a credit card, online transfer, or cash. A good way could be to request credit card information when the patient visits. This way, you can get paid automatically after the service is performed and ensure future bill payments.
For expensive procedures, make sure the patient’s insurance covers them. If the treatment is not covered, provide patients with the cost estimate and ask them about the payment options they can manage. You can offer alternative payment methods like third-party financing to avoid chasing after patients for payments.
Streamline Your Follow Up And Collection Process
So far, we have discussed upfront payments and collections through insurance claims, which come under the billing process. Now comes the challenging part of collections. Most dentists hesitate to send statements before 60 days over fears of disrupting patient relations.
Collections are tough and aggressive but necessary to keep your business sustainable and avoid a cash crunch. This process comes when the patient fails to make payments within a stipulated time (60 days). Here you can define a three-step practice where the intensity increases with every level.
- The first level is to send friendly weekly reminders to patients in their preferred communication channels (phone, email, text). You could automate this follow-up process using accounting software’s auto-reminders. The reminders will keep patients aware of their payment obligation.
- Most patients have unpaid bills because they are facing a cash crunch. The second level is negotiating payment methods. You can give patients an option to pay back in small monthly instalments.
- The third and most extreme level is to outsource the collection of unpaid bills. Collection services are experts in this field and can increase your cash flows.
Designing a billing and collection process is only half the battle. Effective implementation and monitoring of this process are necessary to win the battle of converting accounts receivables into cash. A professional bookkeeper or an accountant can monitor the effectiveness of your billing and collection process through the cash conversion cycle. A smooth cash flow can help you sustain business growth.
Contact McCay Duff LLP in Ottawa To Streamline Billing Process
A skilled accountant can examine the effectiveness of your billing and collection processes and streamline them by filling gaps and removing ineffective steps. At McCay Duff LLP, our accountants can provide services to streamline your business processes. In addition, we can provide you with recommendations on automating billing and other functions where possible, thereby enhancing your business efficiency. To learn more about how McCay Duff LLP can provide you with bookkeeping and working capital analysis, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us online or by telephone at 613-236-2367 or toll-free at 1-800-267-6551.