When you begin your massage therapy practice you will be faced with a number of business decisions. One of the hardest decisions will be billing and fees. It is hard for some RMT’s to put a policy in place regarding billing. However if you do not have a policy in place from the very beginning it will become more difficult to approach patients with a new policy. You should be certain to include a policy on insurance billing, as well as come up with a procedure for receiving payment for patients using insurance. Here are the do’s and don’ts of insurance billing for your RMT practice:
- Do set your office policy on insurance and then stick to it.
- Do provide an outline of your fee schedule to all patients and include an outline on your insurance policy.
- Do decide on whether you will accept direct billing to the insurance company or if patients must pay up front.
- If you do accept direct billing do be certain you have a procedure in place to collect your payments.
- Do your homework or have your office staff do it so you have a complete understanding of how you have to process your insurance forms.
- If accepting direct billing do make sure you have a copy of the patient’s benefits outline. This is important as you will not know if they are in fact covered.
- Do ensure you have a doctor’s referral if the patient is required to have one or you will not get paid.
- Do keep accurate records of all claims and copies of all submissions, faxes and queries in order to avoid misunderstandings with submissions.
- Do date stamp EVERYTHING and ALL paperwork for any insurance claims.
- Do familiarize yourself with the different types of insurance such as personal benefits, Workman’s Compensation and Motor Vehicle Accident.
- Don’t allow a patient to use insurance coverage that does not cover your entire fee. Let patients know you charge a standard fee and they will be expected to pay the difference of anything not covered by their insurance.
- Do not allow patients with insurance to leave the office without paying the difference as this may set a negative precedent that will be hard to change.
- Don’t accept insurance without proof the patient is in fact covered.
- Don’t trust your office staff is processing insurance properly. Review weekly claims in order to be certain they are being processed. If you don’t get paid you will only have yourself to blame.
- Don’t allow your claims to sit without follow up. Many RMT’s make the mistake of assuming if the paperwork has been submitted they will automatically get paid. Most insurance companies have a cut off date and it is up to you to ensure the payments are being made before time is up.
- Don’t forget to sign and fill out all insurance forms correctly. This is regardless of whether you are accepting direct billing or the patient is expected to pay up front. You do not want to have any delays in your payments and it is unfair to cause delays for patients receiving their reimbursements as well.
- Don’t make the mistake of turning away patients on disability or government funded treatments. This can cause issues for you and is unethical.
Following these do’s and don’ts will help patients understand your payment policies. They will also help keep your practice from missing payments from patients while keeping you organized.