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Dental Consultant Advice: Patient Financial Policy

Dental Consultant Advice: Patient Financial Policy

Establishing a clear and firm financial policy for your dental office helps to see that your practice is paid without the type of misunderstandings that can cost you new patients and referrals. Recommendations:

1. Insurance: 

a. Tell the patient how much the insurance company is expected to pay. 

b. Tell the patient you will bill the insurance company for that amount.

c. Inform the patient they are responsible for that amount if insurance company doesn't pay.

d. Collect the balance at the time of service.

e. If the insurance payment is not received within at least 30 days inform the patient so they have a chance to contact the insurance company to handle.

f. If still no joy from the insurance company after 45 days collect the balance from the patient. 

2. FFS:

a. Prepay Option: 5% courtesy discount offered on treatment over $500.00. Note: Some offices only offer this to non-insurance patients. If you offer to insured patients make sure to check with the insurance company for their specific rules.

b. 12 months same as cash based on approved credit application. 0% interest if paid within 12 months. See Care Credit (or alternate company) info.

c. Payment at time of service: If need be, payment can be split over appointments if the treatment takes more than one visit. Only offer if they ask.

3. Long Appointments and Lab Cases: 

Patients take appointments more seriously when they have to leave a deposit to "reserve your time: Doing so also flushes out those who are not serious. For appointment of two hours or more, require fee for service patients to put down at least a 50% deposit. For insurance patients, collect the co-pay as the deposit. Explain that you have had patients no-show for these appointments in the past and the dentist and assistants sit around doing nothing for three hours. For lab cases the patient pay 50% up front. Long term, reliable patients should not be asked for a deposit. 


Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at

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