When is the appropriate time to send billing statements to your dental patients? Sending billing statements too soon may cause confusion—when dental claims are still outstanding—while while taking too long to send statements disrupts cash flow.
The first question to always ask your front team is why you are sending billing statements in the first place. In a perfect scenario, the front team is collecting payment at the time of service; therefore billing statements are only needed when dental insurance pays less than expected.
Unfortunately, teams are not always consistent about collecting payment, and sometimes patients do not show up prepared to pay. In those situations, it is appropriate to send a billing statement with your next batch of statements. Or sooner. Some practices send statements in the same week because prompt attention to uncollected patient portions helps improve cash flow.
When an insurance claim is pending, and assuming the account balance is solely due to insurance, it often causes more trouble than it’s worth to send a billing statement. Patients typically call confused about why you are sending a bill.
However, it is wise to keep patients in the loop about their insurance claims, especially when claims take a while to process or when dual insurance is involved. That is why it’s a good rule of thumb to send patients a statement when insurance claims are older than thirty days. Include a specific note about why the claim is still outstanding, and if you need the patient’s help to resolve the issue, this is an ideal way to get that person’s attention.
Effective communication with patients does not stop when they finish their visit. Billing statements are important for keeping patients informed about their accounts. The key is to send the statements at the appropriate time.