The biggest complaint I hear about managing a practice is always BILLING! As a biller I get it, spending hours on the phone with the insurance companies is not the most enjoyable task. Especially when they make a mistake and you need to know what to say to have them correct it. All of the reasons a claim can be denied can also be overwhelming. After processing billing for years, I have all of the secrets to becoming a billing master.
Limit the Amount of Insurance Panels You Are On- Research is key. Not every market can be a cash pay practice. If you choose to become paneled with insurance companies, research who is the best insurance company to work with. Limiting the amount of insurance panels you are a part of will also help you to manage your billing process better. When doing your research look out for the insurance companies that have lower contracted rates or take extended amounts of time to make payments you may want to avoid becoming in network with those insurance companies. Ask around in your area to other therapists. Remember other therapists are your friends, not competition. There are plenty of people that need mental health care now more than ever.
Look Into Out-of-Network Benefits- Most practices do not like to process billing for insurances they are out of network with. However, it can be a benefit to your practice. For example one of my clients was in network with United Healthcare with a contracted rate of $90.60. She got off of the United panel and started to run the billing through Simple Practice as out of network (it is the same process) The client has to pay a $50 copay at this point and the insurance paid $135. Making the total amount received $185. It doesn't always work out in the practice favor like this situation but if you try it out with just one insurance company at a time you may be surprised at what the results could yield.
Analyze If You Can Be an All-Cash Practice- This is my last resort for many reasons. At this point in time it can be hard for people to pay for therapy out of pocket. Especially if they need weekly therapy services. As a person who goes to therapy weekly, I understand that side. However, as a mental health biller for therapists, I also understand the struggle of dealing with insurance companies. If you feel that your audience can pay cash for each session then slowly start to request to be removed from one panel at a time.
Hire a Billing Expert- If you want a stress-free billing process, hiring a biller may be an ideal situation for you. Now I know by me being a billing assistant is giving you a biased opinion however, if you want a thriving practice and want to focus on the important parts of the practice that keep growth coming then hiring a biller is a great option for you. Be sure to ask the following questions when hiring a biller.
How many years of billing experience do you have?
Do you have experience processing billing for therapists?
Are you familiar with the EHR platform Simple Practice (or your current EHR)?
How often do you process billing?
What is the process for dealing with insurance denials?
What are the estimated costs per month for billing services?
Whatever direction you decide to go in make sure you are well informed and you have done the research needed to set yourself up for success. If you ever need any guidance with billing or if you are looking for a biller for your practice feel free to schedule a free 15 consultation.