Collecting Co-Pays and Outstanding Balances

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Neil Baum, MD

Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA

Author, Marketing Your Clinical Practice-Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, Jones Bartlett Publishers


Collect the co-pay before the doctor sees the patient. You are in much better position to collect the co-pay before the visit than afterwards. So many experts in practice management advise that the percentage of collections of co-pays increases considerably if the front desk requests the co-payment before the doctor visits with the patient. The person taking the call to schedule the patient should verify the insurance and then inform the patient of the co-pay or the deductible that must be met and that this is expected at the time of the visit. When calling the patient a day or two before their appointment, remind the patient of the co-pay and that it is expected at the time of the visit and also mention any outstanding balances that exist and that this, too, is to be paid at the time of the visit.

Bottom line: The good book says, “Ask and you shall receive,” and this certainly applies to co-pays, which should be requested before the doctor sees the patient.