The average chiropractic professional bills out roughly $649,000 per year according to Chiropractic Economics’ 2020 Salary and Expense Survey. Choosing the right service to handle this amount of cash is important for keeping your office up and running. But you also want a reputable, trustworthy service and won’t take a huge portion of your profits. This requires looking at four key areas: their services, experience, guarantees, and cost.
Of the $649k billed annually, chiropractic practitioners report that the greatest amount, approximately 40%, is paid directly by the patient. The remainder is reimbursed by health insurance policies, personal injury coverage, Medicare or Medicaid, and workers’ compensation (with a minimal amount paid in barter or trade). Selecting a billing service that offers both patient and insurance billing enables you to collect from all of these sources easily.
There are also benefits of choosing an industry-specific billing service. The more versed the service is in chiropractic billings in particular, the greater their ability to avoid some of the most common issues related to collections, whether related to coding, denied claims, or any other issue that could slow or stop the collections process.
Many of these health insurance providers also require credentialing before a patient’s chiropractic care is covered. This involves meeting the company’s guidelines for education, training, and experience. Ideally, your billing service will help you manage this credentialing, ensuring a smoother reimbursement process.
Another factor to consider when choosing a billing service is that service’s experience. Not just in billing in general, but in chiropractic billing specifically. Again, the better they understand the nuances and challenges of billing for chiropractic services, the more equipped they are to deal with these issues upfront, limiting any potential delays in payment or reimbursement.
It’s also helpful to select a service that has been in the business of medical billing for 20 years or more. Though this may seem like an unnecessarily lengthy requirement, managing medical claims and patient balances is a very complicated process that takes years to master. Finding a service that has gone through all the nuances of insurance billing procedures will increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to use them long-term with no billing disruptions.
A U.S.-based service is helpful too because they will be more familiar with our rules and regulations related to chiropractic billing. Plus, if you do happen to run into any service issues, your legal recourse options are more plentiful if the company is located within one of the 50 states.
What should you look for as far as guarantees? One of the most critical for chiropractic professionals is a service that is HIPAA compliant.
Since the service will have access to your patients’ private health information, you absolutely have to be assured that this data will be protected. This one is a must and needs to be solidified with a signed Business Associate Agreement (BAA), which is required under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
If the service offers a no-cost, any time cancellation, that is worth considering as well. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a contract with a service that doesn’t deliver or face steep financial penalties for cutting ties early. Neither scenario is good.
Finally, the billing service’s costs must be affordable and reasonable. Some services charge their fees based on a percentage of the amount collected. The typical range for this type of fee is 5 to 7%, though it can go as high as 10%. If the service charges more, you may want to reconsider.
Also, ask about how much they charge for paper claims and if they offer a discount based on volume. Review all of their documentation thoroughly, so you fully understand how much you will be charged if you hire this service. Look for hidden fees, so you don’t wind up paying more than you intended.
When looking at these four key areas—services offered, the company’s experience (especially with chiropractic specifically), any guarantees, and all costs—you will find a billing service that you’re more likely to be happy with both now and in the future. It also increases your ability to keep your office running efficiently through an effective billing process, taking stress off you and your staff as you provide patients high-quality chiropractic care.