Working With Patients Who Have an Account Balance

Six Dentrix features you should be using to work with patients who still have a balance after insurance has paid. 

Updated 4/22/21

In an ideal world, your dental patients would pay their portion of their account balance at the time of service. However, there are inevitably times when patients will have an account balance even after insurance has paid. This may be because they have exceeded their annual insurance maximum, there was a frequency limitation, or some other reason.

How do you work with patients who still owe a balance? Below are some ideas of ways you can work with patients with outstanding balances:

1- Generate Billing Statements Following Insurance Payments

When you receive an insurance payment and the patient still owes a balance, I would suggest creating a billing statement immediately after posting the insurance payment instead of waiting to send a statement during your regular billing cycle. This will help patients to be aware of their balance and pay it more quickly, improving your cash flow.

2- Use Billing Options to Avoid Duplicate Statements

When you create your regular monthly billing statements, you can select the If Not Billed Since option and enter the date you last created monthly billing statements. This will avoid sending another statement to patients you billed when receiving an insurance payment.

3- Keep a Copy of Patient Billing Statements

When sending billing statements, I also like to save a copy of the statement in the patient’s Document Center. If a patient calls with a question once they receive the statement, it’s nice to have a copy, so you can see exactly what they’re looking at.

4- Keep Detailed Notes About Patient Accounts

If you need to make notes about a patient’s financial situation, you can do so in the Guarantor Notes in the patient Ledger. You’ll find the Guarantor Notes are accessible from all Dentrix modules related to patient finances, such as the Collection Manager and Payment Agreement Manager, which makes them very convenient to view. You can even print Guarantor Notes when you generate the Aging Report.

5- Use the Payment Agreement Manager to Set Up and Track Payments

If you make a formal financial arrangement with a patient, it can be entered as a Billing/Payment Agreement in the patient’s Ledger. When setting up a payment agreement with a patient, you have the option to save a credit card on file, which can be run on an agreed payment interval. You can track payment agreements using the Payment Agreement Manager.

6- Find Patients with Outstanding Balances using the Collection Manager

When you need to find and contact patients regarding their outstanding balances, I recommend using the Collection Manager, which is accessible from the Office Manager. I like to use the Collection Manager because this report can be generated using multiple filters, so you can find specific groups of patients. Plus you can easily access other patient modules, such as the Ledger, directly from the Collection Manager.

Even if you have patients pay their estimated portion at the time of service, there still may be occasions when patients are left with a balance. When you use the Dentrix features mentioned above, you can effectively send  patients a statement and record contact and financial arrangements you have made with your patients. Using the Payment Manager and Collection Manager, you can easily track payments that are due and contact patients that have a balance.

Learn More

For information on customizing patient billing statements, setting up and using payment agreements, and identifying and contacting patients with overdue balances, read the following articles:

By Charlotte Skaggs
Certified Dentrix Trainer and The Dentrix Office Manager columnist

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for over 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at