4 ways to encourage patients to pay their bills

Show of hands for anyone who likes paying bills? No one? Yeah, I knew that was a long shot.

It’s pretty common knowledge people don’t like paying bills. Whatever service being paid for is usually already done and over with, so when the bill comes it feels like you’re just tossing money away.

Do you have patients who feel that way about paying for their visits to your office?

If you do, here are a few ways you can lessen patients’ resistance to paying and encourage them to pay you faster.

Accept in-office credit card payments

The best way to ensure patients will pay is closing the deal before they even leave your office. And as carrying cash and check books becomes less common, having the ability to accept credit or debit card payments makes a tremendous difference to your patient experience. Instead of having the hassle of remembering to mail out a check or come back and pay later, patients get everything taken care of all at one time.

Send patients home with prepaid envelopes

For those patients who prefer to pay later or those who “forget” their wallets at home, this is a great way to make sure patients remember to mail in what they owe. All the information is already spelled out for them (no need for them to search for your address!), meaning the hardest part is writing out the check. Plus, because the envelopes are prepaid your patients won’t have to use a personal stamp for the mailing, saving them that additional expense.

Offer online bill pay

More dental and medical facilities are setting up their websites with online bill pay. This is perfect for those patients who have good intentions of sending in their payment but struggle with the follow-through. Online bill pay let’s patients pay from the comfort of their homes, offices, lakeside cabins (you get the idea), whenever it’s most convenient for them. They suddenly remember their dental bill at midnight? No problem. They can go write to your website and then rest easy, knowing they could check one thing off their to-do lists.

Offer (smart) payment plans for more expensive treatments

When it comes to more complicated procedures, such as placing a crown or replacing a tooth with an implant, you deserve to be paid fairly for that difficult work. However, some patients may find it difficult to pay for these treatments all at once, even after insurance has covered their share. Offering payment plans that allow patients to pay portions of their bill every month until it is paid off make it feel much more manageable and give patients who struggle with a lower income the opportunity to have the dental work they need without breaking their budgets. But—one thing to keep in mind—make sure you thoroughly discuss payment with patients and keep open lines of communication so that you aren’t faced with patients who pay part of their bill and then disappear.

At the end of the day, you’re never going to make patients love paying their bill for your services, no matter how awesome they know you are.

But what you can do is make the process as convenient and manageable as possible. After all, patients know they’re going to have to pay, so they’ll appreciate that you understand their resistance and do what you can to make it an easy and pleasant experience.