Many hospitals and clinics are financing their patients by allowing a gradual payment of the full balance due. Ideally, this should be done via a secure, automated tool that does not require continual staff monitoring for regular payments to occur. Organizations also spread out the statements for monthly ‘promise to pay’. No matter your approach, have you considered the possible upside to charging a payment plan fee?
Credit card companies are known for fees being charged when the full balance is not paid. Consumers are accustomed to this. What is stopping you from adding interest or a service fee for patients that enroll in a payment plan with your organization? That fee does not need to be high. It could be based upon a small percentage of the full balance (thus creating a new, higher balance), or it could be a flat fee.
Either way, once you indicate there is a fee associated with the payment plan, it may cause the patient to simply pay the balance in full. Or if the patient proceeds with a payment plan, that fee can help offset the temporary lost revenue and extra time needed to collect the amount due.
If your organization charges a payment plan fee, please share your comments below about how you have successfully implemented patient payment plans and pitfalls to avoid.