Dental Patient Billing Statements Set-Up
Dental patient billing statements can be difficult for patients to understand. And part of our job is to make that easier. So, how can we do this? Let’s start with the balance forward setting. As this is often a place where confusion begins for our patients. And can also be a point of confusion for us. But I want to back up just a bit first. Because we need to visit our billing frequency first.
I’m a huge fan of daily patient billing. This is a setting we’ll visit as well. But for now, I just want to throw it out there! And I also encourage everyone to call patients with unexpected balances. If an insurance payment is less than expected, let’s know why first. And call our patients with the news before a statement leaves the office. This allows for conversation we can lead and prepare for a bit.
Balance Forward Settings
Statement date and balance forward date are our first consideration. Statement date is pretty self-explanatory. But what about that balance forward setting? How many times do patients call and ask, “What is this balance forward from?” Great question! But would you like to eliminate the balance forward? Frequent patient statements and follow up will help you with that. But so will this setting.
The balance forward may default to one month ago in your software. However, you can change this. And I recommend you do! Because I follow a 90-day limit on overdue patient balances, that is my cut off and balance forward date. What I mean is, change balance forward date to 90 days previous. And any balance older than 90 days is brought forward as a balance forward. Everything else is itemized for the patient.
Dental Patient Billing Statements Account Selection
Dental software typically allows us to choose which patients to send our statements to by name. Where would you want to use this? I use this when I wish to send a statement to one patient and create a record of this in the patient history. And when I wish to make other additional changes for one particular patient. Perhaps I want to print a statement for one patient that does not balance forward at 90 days. Or maybe I want to make a note in the note field for this specific patient. I can also choose to include claims pending insurance for one particular patient and not for everyone. We have lots of options.
You may want to avoid running statements in groups of letters. For example, I’ve seen practices send statements for patients who have last names beginning with A – G one week. And then another week will send H – M. Or something like this. It might work well for some, but I just don’t understand why the complication. For me, simple works well. And leaves less room for error or mistakes.
By Primary Provider
There is also a filter for the primary provider. This is a valuable tool for multi-provider practices and multi-specialty practices. Especially if there are different team members responsible for different providers. And also if different days are chosen to bill specific providers in larger practices.
Notice this filter is for the primary provider number. This is a field we set in the patient account. And not by primary provider for each appointment. It’s also possible to include a range of provider numbers in this field of the statement set up. But remember, it’s the same number set in the patient account field and not in the ledger by appointment.
Dental Patient Billing Statements By Type
Select the billing type or billing cycle to send statements to. This is another separate field within the patient account initial set-up. I like to use different billing cycles for things such as:
- dentists’ family members
- anyone designated not to bill
- any friends of the dentist who receive discounted services
- team members and their families who receive discounted services
- financial plans for orthodontic accounts
- prepayment accounts
- collection placement accounts
Not every account in the system gets a statement. The billing cycle or type setting helps us with this.
Claims pending insurance is another choice. In general, I do not want to send statements with claims pending. That could be a lot of statements. But I will send a statement to an individual with claims pending and balance due. I manually print those.
For those who choose to send statements with claims pending, there are additional choices. For example, we can set the dollar amount of the estimated patient portion we wish to set the statement to go out on.
Allow credit card payment or not? My vote is yes! Print account aging? For me, this is another yes! Show the age of the balance due. If not billed since whatever date we choose. This is where we can be sure patients do not receive statements every day in our daily patient billing. I go with 30 days. A patient receives a statement no sooner than 30 days from their last. Bill accounts by aging? We can choose to send only statements over 30, 60, or 90 days if we wish.
Maximum balance to bill? I like to go with $3.00. Balances under $3.00 are not a balance I choose to bill. Include credit balances? I do not send credit balance statements to patients. And then we can always add notes at the bottom of our statements. I like to thank patients here for their prompt payment. And to remind patients all balances are due within 30 days.
Dental Patient Billing Statements Success
Consistent dental patient billing statements generate consistent collections. Of course, we aim to collect our patients’ full balance at the time of service. But things happen in the world of dental insurance. Unexpected things happen. And then there are those special accounts and situations we extend special courtesies to. Therefore, there will always be the need for solid dental patient billing statement systems.
Please let me know if you have any questions on your statement set-up or any of these filters. And keep in mind that many of the statement set-up filters refer back to patient account set-up. And statements generate from the data entry entered on the patient account.