Payment plans are usually created to pay off an existing balance over time. However, in certain circumstances, you may want to use a payment plan to create a credit balance in a patient's account, with the goal of paying off future charges with that. The charges would be added, for example, as the patient comes in for specific services that are part of a prepaid package. 

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1. Set Up the Payment Plan

First, you will set up your payment plan as usual. Add a charge corresponding to the total amount of the credit pool that the patient is paying into. For instance, if you want to set up a payment plan for $300 over 3 months at $100/month, the total amount to keep in mind is $300. 

  • Click on the plus icon in the yellow billing block
  • Use the charge search bar to search for and add a charge from your charge list. If this is a commonly encountered workflow, create a new entry in your charge list to better document these payment plan credit pools.
  • Edit the amount, if needed, to account for the full amount of the payment plan, or the total amount of the credit pool that the patient is paying into over time.

Next, create a payment plan for that charge by clicking the plus sign again, then clicking "MORE OPTIONS" as shown on the image on the left below. This will reveal the "Create Payment Plan" option shown in the image on the right. Click on this button.

You will have an option to select from unpaid charges to put on a payment plan. Select the charge you added at step 1. Designate the number of installments, and how often an installment should be paid.

2. Edit the Associated Charge to be $0

Second, make sure that the scheduled payments create a credit pool, as opposed to bringing down the balance from that charge that was added to create the plan. To do so, right click on the charge name (one you had just added to create the payment plan) in the yellow billing block and choose "Edit Charge Details" (do not delete or void the charge). Set the charge amount ("Base Charge") to $0, and click Edit This Charge.

The payment plan will still run on the schedule that you set, but because the charge amount it corresponds to has no balance owing, the automatic payments will create a credit in the patient's account that will be available to apply to future charges.

When the patient comes in for specific services that are part of the prepaid package, you would add the applicable charges to their encounter note as usual, then go as if to add another charge or payment and click to Apply Credit. Once their existing credit is applied to those specific charges, you can generate the Insurance Invoice, HCFA, etc. with the correct charges, codes, balance, and date of service.