Deter late payments

September 10, 2011

Is it possible to charge interest on late payments?

Q: I'm having trouble getting a few patients to pay their bills and was wondering if charging interest on late payments would be a deterrent in the future. Would I have to worry about any financial laws or regulations if I began doing this?

A: Yes, there are truth-in-lending regulations that you should inform your patients of before charging interest. It's pretty rare for family practices to charge interest. In general, practices that do charge interest often don't collect it, although sometimes it motivates a patient to pay a bill minus the interest, which the practice then writes off. Your banker, attorney, or medical society can point you toward a copy of your state's truth-in-lending laws.