Insurance work

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JON in Las Vegas, Nevada

56 months ago

Does anyone do insurance work? How does that work? Can LMTs accept insurance or do we have to go thru a chiro? How much does it pay? Is it worth doing?

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Sabeena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

56 months ago

Good questions, Jon. Tell ya what, I'll start and finish the VERY predictable exchange that will inevitably happen next. It's less painful this way.

Me: You can bill auto insurance for personal injuries (PIP) when someone has an accident and gets a claim number. Be careful not to exceed the limits because then you could be stuck with the balance. You don't have to go thru a chiro.

You may be able to bill workers compensation (labor and industries in other states) for limited treatments after an on-the-job injury. Each state differs. You don't have to go thru a chiro.

You may be able to bill some health insurance companies in your area. You may need to go through a lengthy credentialing process with some companies. Each company differs. Some companies only pay for massage if billed through a professional such as a chiro.

PIP and WC pretty much pay what you bill. Health insurance sets a usual and customary fee and doesn't pay above that amount, which ranges from $7 - $25 every 15 minutes. It is very time consuming and a huge hassle to collect most of the time. I don't recommend doing it.

thebodyworker (like there's only one?): If you think it pays good then it does. If you think it's a hassle then it is. If you think it's worth doing then it is. Go to my web page www.thebodyworker.com/insurance_billing_massage_therapy.htm

Me: You can think insurance billing is a joy if that's how you get your jollies, but that doesn't change the fact that it involves a lot of paperwork, hours of phone calls, denied claims and delayed payments. Call it what you want, but that's reality.

thebodyworker: if you feel anything but love for insurance billing then examine your subconscious beliefs. Do you feel unworthy or unloved? Did you have a difficult potty training?

Me: Oh please, what do subconscious beliefs have to do with insurance billing.....etc etc etc

Get it????

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Nunya Beezwax in Dallas, Texas

56 months ago

HAAAAAAAAA HA HA! At least you're good for a laugh, Sooner! You didn't quite get your part right though.

Sabeena: No, don't dream of a better life! Wallow in the drudgery of daily routine!

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Sabeena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

56 months ago

Nunya Beezwax in Dallas, Texas said: HAAAAAAAAA HA HA! At least you're good for a laugh, Sooner! You didn't quite get your part right though.

Sabeena: No, don't dream of a better life! Wallow in the drudgery of daily routine!

Ouch, so guilty! Darn perceptive Aggie! They taught you SOMETHING...or is that good ol' Texas Common Sense? ;-)

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JON in Las Vegas, Nevada

56 months ago

Yep that did cut out a lot off the bull. very good. What about the services that bill for you, do you have any experience with that?

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Sharon Moak in Vancouver, Washington

56 months ago

JON in Las Vegas, Nevada said: Yep that did cut out a lot off the bull. very good. What about the services that bill for you, do you have any experience with that?

Jon, over the years I have worked with several individuals who charged a percentage to bill and collect insurance payments. Now I do it myself. With new free tools available on the web I can bill, manage and collect insurance payments in much less time and with higher collection rates than my old service.

Check out officeally.com. It's an online scheduling with integrated electronic billing, medical notes and credit card merchant service. It only costs if you use the electronic notes, otherwise it's free. After entering my clients' insurance information I can literally file a claim in 3 clicks of a button.

OneHealthPort.com is a common internet portal into many different health insurance companies. You can check benefits and claim status from one interface, avoiding so much telephone tag. Unfortunately auto insurance and workers comp doesn't use this.

Of course, you must first have full knowledge of how insurance works set up your initial claim template to ensure reimbursement. I would take a continuing ed class or find someone in your area who is willing to mentor you through the process. I did both and now offer mentoring services.

Looking back, would I start the insurance game all over again? Absolutely! It has allowed my business to expand so much that I now have enough work for myself and 4 others.

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JON in Las Vegas, Nevada

56 months ago

Very good and informative. How much extra time does it take for insurance billing and SOAP note charting?

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Pete Spairring in Renton, Washington

56 months ago

JON in Las Vegas, Nevada said: Does anyone do insurance work? How does that work? Can LMTs accept insurance or do we have to go thru a chiro? How much does it pay? Is it worth doing?

Be aware that all insurance company billing is about to be lost if obama gets his health care system passed.

In Las Vegas I believe the only insurance work can be done for people with auto insurance or workers compensation claims. If I'm wrong please correct but thats what my fellow massage therapist friends that work their tell me. Also be aware license is needed and the requirements are different between the city and county.

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Sabeena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

56 months ago

JON in Las Vegas, Nevada said: Very good and informative. How much extra time does it take for insurance billing and SOAP note charting?

As a business geek I've done actual time studies on this. It averages 15 minutes for the initial setup, then 5 minutes per visit to document and file if you use electronic records. It takes much more time if you use paper.

I also use Office Ally and it does cut down on the paperwork and filing time drastically. It takes about 3 minutes to set up the insurance information and billing template on the first visit, then under 1 minute to submit a claim.

The time consuming part is verifying benefits which must be done before the first visit. Unfortunately the health insurance companies in my area do not go through the OneHealthPort interface so I can't verify benefits online. It takes an average of 12 minutes to verify on the phone.

I should use the electronic records in Office Ally but I'm just too darn cheap! So I use spreadsheets and it takes me about 4 minutes per visit to complete SOAP note charting per visit.

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Sabeena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

56 months ago

Pete Spairring in Renton, Washington said: Be aware that all insurance company billing is about to be lost if obama gets his health care system passed.

In Las Vegas I believe the only insurance work can be done for people with auto insurance or workers compensation claims. If I'm wrong please correct but thats what my fellow massage therapist friends that work their tell me. Also be aware license is needed and the requirements are different between the city and county.

My job and the jobs of my employees will be secure even if health insurance is completely socialized. You have to be flexible and business savvy enough to market a cash business and offer services not covered by health insurance. If you do that, you may actually see an increase in your business because others will not be able to respond as quickly, or at all.

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searching4more in Bell, California

56 months ago

Pete Spairring in Renton, Washington said: Be aware that all insurance company billing is about to be lost if obama gets his health care system passed.

In Las Vegas I believe the only insurance work can be done for people with auto insurance or workers compensation claims. If I'm wrong please correct but thats what my fellow massage therapist friends that work their tell me. Also be aware license is needed and the requirements are different between the city and county.

I hope insurance billing is taken away for good, that would make me happy. I have wasted my entire day off contacting insurance companies cause they refuse to change my address. They can't even handle a simple little thing like an address change. I've been harassing them 6 weeks now to change it and they won't. It must be on purpose. I have to write off about 30% of my charges because of the difference between billed and paid amounts. I'm sick to my stomach today with all this hassle and can't wait to get on with my life in another field besides massage. By the way I don't recommend insurance billing if you couldn't tell already.

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Sabeena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

56 months ago

searching4more in Bell, California said: I hope insurance billing is taken away for good, that would make me happy. I have wasted my entire day off contacting insurance companies cause they refuse to change my address. They can't even handle a simple little thing like an address change. I've been harassing them 6 weeks now to change it and they won't. It must be on purpose. I have to write off about 30% of my charges because of the difference between billed and paid amounts. I'm sick to my stomach today with all this hassle and can't wait to get on with my life in another field besides massage. By the way I don't recommend insurance billing if you couldn't tell already.

Sorry to hear about the problems you're going through. It's no consolation, but the same thing happened to me. It took about 6 months of persistence before all the insurance companies, credentialing agencies, and government offices processed my address change. That was 4 years ago and to this day I still get important mail sent to my old address. If I ever moved again I will stop accepting insurance rather than go through all that again. Yes, it was that bad. I wouldn't be surprised if the insurance companies do this to us deliberately as a cost-saving measure.

Pete is right. Changes in the health insurance industry will probably cut out most reimbursement for massage services, just like Canada. I will be glad when insurance is no longer an option for us too, searching! Cash is King!

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thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington

56 months ago

I actually really hate billing insurance and dealing with it too that is why I put all of the info I could online to help make it easier. Sometimes you just have to do things that are hard - that is life. If you take a class in it and read some books on charting and billing etc you can eventually get a feel for cases and know which ones to avoid. It is a great way to have a steady flow of income - if you want it. Here in WA we are contracted providers and the insurance companies started out paying about $100 for an hour and some more but each year they pay less and lower their benefits and make it harder to get paid - they are insurance companies after all.

And yes - it is all about your beliefs. Who ever said any of this was going to be easy? I hate doing laundry too but I just have to do it.

I used to complain about billing a lot too but then realized it doesn't really do any good so I just started focusing on what I wanted which is really what complaining is telling you - oh the wisdom of complaining....

The extra time it takes to bill is also one of the reasons I charge more. My cash clients are paying for low ins. reimbursement. It is just all part of being a business and doing business.

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Sabeena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

56 months ago

See, that's the thing people. You don't have to do laundry. You don't have to bill insurance. And you don't have to massage. Complaining does do a lot of good if you let it propel you to what you really want to do in life. And complaining helps others see all sides to an issue, not just the positive.

Life is yin and yang. Positive and negative. Up and down. Without both it's unbalanced. That's exactly why I have no problem talking about both, because both exist. It's a dis-service to yourself and others asking if you ignore the problems, because they WILL present themselves. I have met so many MTs who had no clue about the dark side of massage and were totally crushed when they started happening.

Preparation and flexibility is key, not lying to yourself and others.

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thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington

56 months ago

yes I agree- people don't have a clue when they get into the profession. That is why I created my sites and tell everyone about all of the things that massage school doesn't tell you. They just want your money and don't care if you are a good candidate for massage or not. No you don't have to do any of those - that is what the wisdom is in complaining. It tells you what you do want so you can focus on that.

I have a billing and laundry service and now I actually have more cash client than I have had in 9 years because I wanted to get out of billing.

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Matthias in San Francisco, California

53 months ago

searching4more in Bell, California said: I hope insurance billing is taken away for good, that would make me happy. I have wasted my entire day off contacting insurance companies cause they refuse to change my address. They can't even handle a simple little thing like an address change. I've been harassing them 6 weeks now to change it and they won't. It must be on purpose. I have to write off about 30% of my charges because of the difference between billed and paid amounts. I'm sick to my stomach today with all this hassle and can't wait to get on with my life in another field besides massage. By the way I don't recommend insurance billing if you couldn't tell already.

How do you manage to bill insurance here in CA?

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Top_Notch Therapist in Twinsburg, Ohio

27 months ago

I have read through everyone's comments. It has been very enlightening as I weigh the pro's & con's and decide if insurance billing is right for me or not. I was also pleased to find the links to valuable resources. Thank you to all of you, and best wishes in your career endeavors and all you seek in life. Health, wealth, and happiness to all.
Sincerely,
your fellow LMT in Ohio

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Medical Massage Professional in Steubenville, Ohio

20 months ago

Top_Notch Therapist in Twinsburg, Ohio said: I have read through everyone's comments. It has been very enlightening as I weigh the pro's & con's and decide if insurance billing is right for me or not. I was also pleased to find the links to valuable resources. Thank you to all of you, and best wishes in your career endeavors and all you seek in life. Health , wealth, and happiness to all.
Sincerely,
your fellow LMT in Ohio

What did you decide? I have been contacted more and more recently with people wanting to use their insurance. Have tried working with Chiro - paid very little. PT's are not real cooperative, think they can do the work without us. I want to do it, but find it very difficult to get started.

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thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington

18 months ago

Just an update on this. Massage is about to be covered in every state under the Affordable Health care act if your state's MT get themselves on the list of providers or included in the new health insurance exchanges. You can best decide if insurance billing is right for you by figuring out your cost per client and deciding if taking insurance would increase your profits. Yes it takes more time to bill and get paid but you do get more clients so you have to weigh the benefits and cons.

Some people like doing it all and some people don't - it is just what is best for you. I have actually updated the info on my site and also created a book on the basics of insurance billing so you can start the process. It is learning what questions to ask to whom basically. Each state, company, plan is different so you have to ask the questions each time.

www.thebodyworker.com/ins-billing-contents.htm

Here is info on the affordable healthcare act massagepracticebuilder.com/the-affordable-healthcare-act-and-the-massage-profession/

Julie

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Kristina Cannon in New Orleans, Louisiana

11 months ago

All the info and commentary here is really helpful! I'm just getting started with billing insurance, and I know it will be rough at times and hard work, but the city I live in has a real need for therapists who will bill insurance. Too many people with too many health issues, and not enough money. Yeah, I do live in a relatively poor state, but New Orleans is growing and changing. I hope that by being another of the very few (I think I've only been able to find maybe 2 or 3 others at most who also bill), we can make massage more mainstream and respected with the medical community here. It will also help bring massage to those who really need it, but would not otherwise consider it an option. I will get a call every couple of months from someone asking me if I take insurance, and I really hate that I have to say no, but I've been saying for a while, "no, not at this time", or lately, it's been, "Not yet!" And they've been excited and said they would check back with me, and we exchange information. Already I have a couple of people who are eagerly waiting!

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