Discussing Finances with Patients 101

Discussing finances with patients can be an intimidating concept. After all, money is a touchy subject for many — especially in the realm of dentistry, where insurance might not cover everything, and patients might be stressed about how they can afford their treatment plan. It is because of this fact that it is especially important for a business coordinator to be properly prepared and trained on how to handle financial presentation and discussion. You are a vital person in the office both for your clinical team and for the patients that walk in through your practice’s front door. By approaching the topic of finances with confidence and poise, you will find it easy to soothe anxious or frustrated patients, as well as make sure that your dental practice receives the payments that it is owed on time. 


It is guaranteed that your practice will have a variety of patients from many different walks of life. Everybody is different, and everybody has their own lives and their own conflicts that they are currently facing. It is impossible to understand an individual’s financial situation or the unique stresses that they face right away. However, this does not mean that dental treatment is not valuable. Dental treatment, while sometimes costly, will save a patient from inflammation, worsened disease, pain and discomfort, and a loss of confidence. The treatment that your practice can provide is extremely valuable.



The best way that you can ensure that you treat patients equally is to follow a specific formula designed for financial presentation and discussion. By sticking to the formula each time, you will find it far less stressful for both yourself and your patients to discuss finances! 



Another important note — when estimating a patient’s copay, it is important that you OVERESTIMATE, and NEVER UNDERESTIMATE. Just think about it — being given an estimate of out-of-pocket expense for a good or service that turns out to be less than the actual cost would be extremely frustrating. However, being given an estimate that turns out to be more than the actual cost is exciting, and relieving. While it’s important to estimate as accurately as possible, if there is any uncertainty, always overestimate rather than underestimate. This will help tremendously to avoid potential conflict later down the line. 


The formula works great — but it works best when it is paired with a specific execution style: 



As you become more familiar with your job, you will have a unique system for handling finances that works best with your practice and patient demographic. However, all great financial presentation strategies have the above factors in common — it’s a great idea to write the list above down and utilize it.


By handling financial topics with confidence, you will help your patients feel healthier, happier, and more confident. You will also have a great impact on the case acceptance rate of your practice — a topic that we’ll cover in detail later. Your goal as a business coordinator is to advocate for your patient’s health — you want them to have healthy mouths and an overall better quality of life. You play a pivotal role in ensuring that more patients say “YES” to the treatment that their bodies need, and you will find it easy to achieve this by ensuring that you implement a positive, confident financial presentation system.