"Estimated Charges" can be prospective or prepaid charges that can be added to a holding tank, and converted into regular charges if/ when appropriate. Estimated charges on a patient's account do not affect their account balance or appear on their account statement or in your end of day billing reports. An estimated invoice can be generated using these charges and provided to the patient.
If you are interested in having this feature enabled for you and are currently in the initial implementation process, ask your implementation manager. Otherwise, email us at email@example.com. The "estimated charges" wording can be changed to "package charges", "prepaid services," etc. So let us know with your request if you'd prefer it be titled something other than the default "Estimated Charges".
You can use estimated charges to track traditional estimates or generate a Good Faith Estimate invoice or form. In which case, you would initially add the charges to estimated charges to provide the estimate. And then convert those to regular charges if and when the estimate is approved.
In addition, estimated charges can be used to track prepaid, but as yet unused, products or services. When used for prepaid charges, the charges would be added to Estimated Charges when the prepaid package is purchased. And converted to regular charges when the included services or products are redeemed.
Adding Estimated Charges for a Patient
You can add estimated charges outside of an encounter note by clicking on the plus sign at the top right of the yellow billing block. Or from within an encounter note by hovering over the encounter's Charges/ Payments box.
- Click on "Add to Estimated Charges".
- Use the search bar that appears to search for the charge (or charge group) in your charge list.
Selecting the charge (or charge group) opens the applicable charge(s) within the Add Charge window. Unlike with regular charges, you will not see options to confirm/ adjust the tax rate, or dispense from inventory. But there will be an additional option to add an expiration date, if desired.
If you are adding a charge group to estimated charges, all of the charges in the group will show in one list, with a button at the bottom to add them all to estimated charges at once.
NOTE: When estimated charges are added INSIDE an encounter note, they will be shown in a new "Estimated Charges" box that appears under the note's Charges/Payments box.
Expiration Date for Estimated Charges
The expiration date, if specified, is the date after which the estimated charge can no longer be redeemed/ converted into a regular charge. It can be set when adding (or editing) an estimated charge by checking the box to "Add an Expiration Date" and selecting the desired date. When adding a charge group, setting an expiration date for the first charge in that list will present the option to apply the same expiration date to the entire charge group.
When the assigned date passes, the estimated charge will appear in the patient's Estimated Charges, shown at the bottom of their billing history, but will be struck through and will not be able to be converted to regular charges.
Applying Payments to Estimated Charges
By default, payments can only be applied to pay regular charges, not estimated charges. However there is an optional setting that will allow you to apply payments to estimated charges as well. This can be useful, for example to make amounts paid toward a prepaid package unavailable to apply toward other charges in the patient's account.
Convert/ Redeem Estimated Charges
If the charge is converted to a regular charge outside of an encounter note, the charge will be added outside of the encounter note even if the estimated charge was originally added inside an encounter note.
Generate an Estimate Invoice
To generate an estimate invoice:
- From within the encounter note where the estimated charges were added - click the pencil icon in the Estimated Charges block. From here, check the boxes of the items you would like included on your receipt and select "Manage Checked" > "Generate Estimate Receipt".
- From the patient's expanded Billing block - scroll to the bottom to see the Estimated Charges. Check the boxes of the items you would like included on your receipt and select "Manage Checked Estimated Charges" > "Print Estimate
Edit or Remove Estimated Charges
In the expanded billing block, right click on individual estimated charges to edit or remove them. Or check the boxes to the left of multiple estimated charges to generate an estimate invoice, add as charges (redeem them), or remove from estimates.
Example: Prepaid Package Tracking
One common application of estimated charges is to track usage of pre-paid packages. To do so, you will most likely want to create a charge group that includes all of the items or services in the package. Then add the charge group to the patient's estimated charges when they purchase. To redeem services as they are used, you would convert the applicable estimated charges to regular charges. The charges remaining in the Estimated Charges block will tell you what products/services the patient is still owed.
Additional Keywords: Estimates, pre-pay, packages, billing ledger