Questions You Need to Ask Before Accepting Insurance
One thing many private practices struggle with is insurance. While patients expect you to take their insurance, it doesn’t always seem worthwhile. Insurers seem to offer the lowest possible rates, the time between claim submission and reimbursement can be lengthy, and the endless forms and paperwork keep you away from your patients – where you belong. At GetTherapy.com, we work with insurance providers and handle billing on a regular basis for our clinicians. If you ever need help with insurance and billing, please don’t hesitate to contact our team to find out more about the services we provide. In this post, we’ll review some of the basics of insurance and billing, and how we can help.
Is the Hassle of Insurance Worth the Reward?
Being a mental health professional can be difficult, and you want to be paid appropriately for your service, training, and expertise. Many clinicians in private practice ask, “is it worth it to bother with reimbursements from insurance companies, or should we just stick to a ‘cash-only’ approach?” If you’re asking yourself this question as you begin to build your private practice, take a few minutes to read the following information, and don’t hesitate to reach out the GetTherapy.com team to find out more.
Benefits of Accepting Insurance
The main benefit of accepting insurance is that there are many patients who don’t want to visit a clinician who won’t accept their coverage. Additionally, hospitals and medical healthcare providers are also more likely to refer patients to a clinician who will accept their insurance. However, there’s a difference between helping patients by processing claims and agreeing to an insurance plan’s many restrictions and limitations. This is where things become more complicated.
Questions to Ask Before Taking Insurance
Some insurance companies pay poorly, but others pay quite well. Usually, the larger private insurance companies like Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield, and QualChoice (among others) pay the best. Keep in mind that accepting some insurance payments does open the door for many more patients to fill your schedule. It is an important decision to make, and we don’t recommend just accepting all insurances. When you’re trying to decide whether or not to accept an insurance, here are some questions you should ask:
- What insurances do large businesses in my area provide for their employees?
- What mental health benefits are provided for its recipients?
- How many therapy sessions do they allow without pre-authorization?
- How long does it take to get reimbursed?
- Do they accept electronic submissions, or do they require paper?
You can often talk to other clinicians in your area who have experience with insurers to find out this information, or you can call the insurer directly. The GetTherapy.com team can also help you. We work with private practices throughout Arkansas, and we are familiar with many of the insurers and their policies. We offer services to help you make the most of patient’s benefits without devaluing your services and expertise.
The Importance of Credentialing
If you do decide to begin accepting medical insurance coverage, you’ll need to complete the credentialing process for each provider. This process can be equal parts complicated and time-consuming. For this reason, we’re happy to offer credentialing services through GetTherapy.com. If you want to learn how to complete the credentialing process on your own, we can assist you during a consultation.
Billing With & Without Insurance
Accepting and billing insurance ads a layer of complexity to your practice that self-pay practices just don't have, but if it means boosting your caseload, it may be worth it. You just need to know the pros and cons and have a system in place to get you paid and to track patient accounts and insurance payments. Most of us did not go to school to become accountants or billers, so it's not surprising that spending hours looking at budget spreadsheets, calling insurance companies, filling out insurance claims, working rejected bills, and mailing out statements are not our preferred tasks. Some of the electronic medical record systems designed for small mental health practices make it easier, but each time you add a clinician or an accept another type of insurance it gets more complex, which is why many outsource billing for a small percentage of the income. Most who do so are able to see more patients per week and find that more of their sessions get paid for because professional billers are more knowledgeable and effective at billing than clinicians. Either way, clinicians deserve to be paid for the services.
How GetTherapy.com Can Help
At GetThearpy.com, we work hard to help new and existing private practices in Arkansas with all aspects of running a practice. We know you want to spend as much time helping people as possible, so we’re here to help with the rest. Give us a call and we'll help you figure out the best course of action for your practice. We're here to help private practices in Arkansas thrive!