capline dental services

Dealing With Patients Who Refuse To Pay Their Dental Bills

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As a dental provider, it is their responsibility to get the treatment complete. But the last conversation a dental provider wants to have is about the unpaid dental bills if the patient refuses to pay for the rendered service. As a reason that the doctor is behind the money or the treatment is inadequate.  

In most cases, because of a bad dental experience, the patient becomes cynical and ready to deteriorate the doctor-patient relationship due to a customer service mishap or clinical error. Some patients are very straightforward and do not pay for less-than-perfect treatment, while others wait for the last-minute conversation for the dental office to offer some discounts for them to visit again.  

The common reason for patient billing conflicts: 

  • The patient assumed that their dental insurance would cover the maximum charges. 
  • The patient has an issue with the service and does not believe the cost is worth it. 
  • They have paid some amount in-office for the rendered service and receive an additional bill. 
  • They were unaware before the services how much they would need to pay.

Here are a few points on how to deal with the patient billing conflicts going further. 

Create a policy for unpaid dental bills: 

It is very convenient to have a policy in place beforehand so that it does not have a negative and discouraging impact. Service-driven industry, like the dental industry, highly depends upon patient satisfaction. However, sometimes things don’t go as planned, and that subsequently affects the loyal patients. 

The policy should state whom to contact if the patient has unpaid dental bills and refuses to pay.  Meeting directly with the dental provider and the patient for a one-to-one conversation is a better way to keep the knots out. 

A write-off procedure or including a discount coupon for another visit might work with some outstanding balance. For an unsatisfied patient, these will not be a purpose of resolution. With a  proper protocol, the billing staff, office manager, or dental provider will be able to respond and offer solutions to the patient. 

Why should a dental practice feel embarrassed about making money? It is a noble profession that does not mix with the financial returns. 

Meeting with the patient with unpaid dental bills: 

Before the dental provider speaks to the patient who refuses to pay, there are a few points to  remember: 

  • It is better to arrange the meeting as early as possible, either at the office or by phone.
  • Let the patient speak and vent out without interference. 
  • Address the complaint and do not let them feel that their complaint is irrelevant or trivial. 
  • Offer to write off the balance after the insurance pays. 
  • Assure to prevent the incident from occurring again. 
  • Call the patient after a few days to confirm how things get handled and if they feel satisfied. 

Dealing with patients with unpaid dental bills: 

  • The dental office can take legal action if the patient has agreed to the treatment plan and treatment charges as per the evidence, such as the consent form, audio record, pictures taken during treatment, etc.
  • Remind them through phone calls and emails about the pending dues. 
  • Offer financing for treatment plans that allow patients to make partial payments over time on a schedule that works for them. It is better to dictate finances upfront and set payment deadlines to avoid future complications. 
  • If the patient billing conflict persists, the dental office can reproduce all the evidence in court to prove that the patient refuses to pay even after multiple reminders. 
  • At Capline Dental Services, the experts can help the dental practice deal with debt without compromising revenue and patient retention. 

As a last note, always set payment expectations before the appointment so that they decide whether to continue ahead or not.