Patient Payment Plans

How to Eliminate Financial Barriers with Patient Payment Plans

If you look down your list of patients with incomplete treatment, odds are more than half of them put it off for financial reasons. It’s the leading barrier to treatment, per ADA research, beating out the second greatest cause (lack of insurance) by a 37-point margin. Because of this, it’s helpful to have an arsenal of tools to help your practice break down financial barriers and make it easier for your patients to receive much-needed care. Payment plans fit into this beautifully.

Payment Plans Make Sense for Patients

As we discuss in our on-demand webinar on boosting patient collections,

  • 24% of patients cannot pay a $400 dental bill in full.
  • 38% of patients say a payment plan will help them cover their dental expenses.
  • 39% of patients age 40 and under have financed treatment.

Payment Plans Make Sense for Dentists

Offering patient payment plans doesn’t just help them—it’s a boon for your practice growth and production too.

  • Patients can schedule without financial worries, so production increases.
  • There’s less need for discount plans, allowing you to collect more for your work.
  • You don’t need to work with treatment financing companies that can take 15% or more of your earnings. (Check your rates! The leading finance company takes 6-15% if the patient is claiming an interest-free promotion.)
  • When administered properly, patient payment plans can elevate customer service and help your practice attract new patients too.

Practice-Web Includes a Payment Plan Feature

You don’t need any specialized software to create or offer patient payment plans. The option is already present in your Practice-Web Account Module. As payments come due, the software automatically marks them as such so the balances are included in your statements. You can break down a patient’s payments as much as you like and even add interest if it’s practice policy. Watch the video above for a complete walkthrough.

You Can Automate Your Payment Plans FREE Through DOCPAY Too

As an alternative, you can also sign up for DOCPAY. It’s free for dentists to use and charges patients a nominal transaction fee, so it’s more affordable than financing and is even cheaper than processing credit cards, but still drops payments directly into your practice bank account for you.

For added payment assurance, you can opt to guarantee individual payments for $1 each or have DOCPAY check the patient’s banking history for bounced checks. Visit DOCPAY.com/practice-web for additional program details and a special offer for Practice-Web clients or check their schedule for an upcoming No More Fees Web Clinic to learn more.

Follow a Few Best Practices When Offering Payment Plans

If you’re launching patient payment plans for the first time or trying to refine your current offerings, keep the following best practices in mind.

Request a down payment.

Many practices have patients put 25-50% of their treatment costs down. This gets your practice some immediate cash flow and increases the likelihood the patient will follow through.

Keep it in-workflow.

Whenever possible, use integrated solutions to ensure no payments or statements fall through the cracks. (Note: Our DOCPAY integration is coming soon and will automatically post payments to patient accounts for you!)

Automate Payments.

You can set up recurring charges through a service like DOCPAY or check out our User Guide to learn how to set up recurring charges via credit card.

Define payment terms in advance.

It’s essential that all patients are treated the same when it comes to payment plans. That way, there’s never any question about why someone was or was not offered one.

Before you offer any payment plans, create a standard process that includes how much a patient can put on a plan, minimum monthly payments, down payment requirements, and interest if applicable. You may also want to consider whether you’re offering payment plans as a general rule to make treatment more affordable or if you only want to offer them when a patient can’t pay a surprise bill all at once.

Determine your payment guarantee strategy in advance.

Most of your patients will likely pay their bills on time and without an issue, but there’s always some chance a patient will be unable to pay or fail to pay. If you’re managing everything in-house, you may want to get set up with a payment acceleration service/ collection agency like TSI. You can also use DOCPAY’s payment guarantee service and ConfiCheck or consider performing credit checks on patients if they’re signing up for a payment plan over a certain dollar amount.

Have written literature on hand.

Keep your financing options handy with in-office procures on display and information on your website that outlines your policies.

Don’t be quick to offer a payment plan.

Even though 24% of your patients may not be able to afford a $400+ bill, 65% of them can! As you’re going over treatment plans with patients, don’t jump into your payment plan options. Instead, present with confidence that the patient will be able to cover their treatment costs if full. If they express hesitation over booking, do some detective work to find out why and only mention your payment plans to those who need financial barriers eliminated.

Get Help Setting Up Payment Plans in Practice-Web

Already using Practice-Web and need help? Contact Support.

Don’t have paid Support but have questions or want to sign up? Contact Sales.

Scroll to Top