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How to Manage Self-Pay Patients (with Payment Plans!)

posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:23 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Apr 24, 2018, 11:11 AM by Angelique Belot ]

Before rendering services it is recommended that you create and agree to a contract with the patient if they will be paying out of pocket, especially if payments will not be made up front, at the time of service. To see a sample agreement for patients with Payment Plans under the Misc Templates folder, click here.

Step 1: Setting Up the Patient

There are multiple options for setting up the patient within CollaborateMD and each option comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Review both options below to determine which makes the best sense for your business.

Option 1: Set the Patient Type to Self Pay

Advantages of using this option include that it automatically sets all charges for the patient to the status of Balance due Patient and the setup includes one (1) step. However, this option does not work with interfaces, so if you have an EMR partner that is the patient master you will not be able to use this option.

If you choose this option, complete the steps below in order to change the patient’s type:

  1. Go to the Patient section

  2. Add a New Patient or search for an existing patient

  3. On the Patient tab, use the Type drop-down to select Self Pay

  1. Once satisfied with all information, click Save

Option 2: Add “Self Pay” Payer

Advantages of using this option include being able to see the data on per payer reports and the benefit of working with interfaces. However, this option does require additional setup both one-time and per patient.

If you choose this option, complete the steps below in order to add the payer & associate to the patient in CollaborateMD.

Step 1.1 - Payer Setup - Create the Payer

  1. Add the payer as a Paper Payer called “Self-Pay” or whatever you prefer


Recommended Payer Settings (see image below):

  • Name: Self Pay or Cash Pay

  • Payer Type: Self Pay

  • Default Billing Status: Due Patient

  • Server Processing Mode: Do not send claims to the clearinghouse for processing

  • Address: Practice address

Step 1.2 - Patient Setup - Associate the Payer to the Patient

Add the patient as normal and then link the patient to the self-payer payer with any fake Member ID. Most accounts using this option use the Member ID of all 0’s or 1’s or “1234”


You can also set the patient’s Account Type to “Self-Pay” for reporting purposes

Step 2: Create/Add Charges (Optional)

While this step is not required in order to create a payment plan for the patient, it is recommended that you document the services provided to each patient, including those paying out of pocket. However, you do have the option to complete this step at a later time. If you would like to complete at this time, you have two options for adding charges to the patient’s account.

Option 1: Create a Claim with Charges

Depending on your current office workflow, this should follow your normal claim creation process, whether using an interface or manually entering claims into CollaborateMD. If you are manually creating claims, use the links below to assist you with the claim creation process.

Option 2: Add Debits to the Patient Account

This option is typically used if you do not want to create claims for self-pay patients or patients are purchasing some service that is not a CPT/HCPC/Revenue code, such as a fee for requesting medical records. In order to use this option, you must complete the following steps:

Step 2.1 - One-time setup - Create the Debit Code


There are really no rules with debit codes since they are entirely made up by the practice. Just make sure the Type is set to Debit.

Step 2.2 Patient setup - Add the Debit to the Patient

Step 3: Create the Payment Plan

Whether you added charges to the patient or not, the next step is to create the payment plan. This not only defines how much the patient owes but also the schedule for when balances are owed to the practice/provider.

Step 4: Send Statements

Once you have begun creating payment plans, you’ll probably want to send statements to those patients so they know how and when to pay the practice/provider. Even if you already use statements with CollaborateMD, you will need to set up the specific statements you would like to use for payment plan installments. Click on the appropriate link below for the type of statement you wish to send to patients with payment plans.

  1. Configure Automated Patient Statements (additional fees may apply)

  2. Configure Enhanced Patient Statements (additional fees may apply)

  3. Configure Plain Text Patient Statements (free)

Step 5: Track Outstanding Balances

Once all the setup is complete and you have determined how your office will handle self-pay patients, it is time to track their outstanding balances. There are multiple ways you can track these balances within the application and you may find that you use all of these options, or just one, depending on your preferences.

Option 1: Add it to your Dashboard

Your dashboard is the area you see immediately upon login with all the graphs. You can create or modify dashboards to include other items that are important to your role and/or your business, like the Payment Plan Balances gadget. You can either create a new dashboard or modify an existing dashboard.

Don’t forget to share this dashboard with other users who may need to track these balances.

Option 2: Run the Report

If you are looking for a more detailed breakdown of patients and their due balances, you also have the option of running the Payment Plan Balances report within the Reports section.

Option 3: Create your own Report

If our standard options don’t give you what you’re looking for, please feel free to build your own report that meets your needs using the payment plan fields available within the Report Builder area.

If your plan does not include the Report Builder, please request for a CollaborateMD expert to build your report for you by ordering a Custom Report.