How Cash Pay Practices Benefit Patients
A question I get weekly is “do you take insurance?” Most of the time people don’t like the answer I give them, but there are many good reasons why I don’t bill to insurance and not only are they good for me, but they’re good for my patients as well.
Billing to insurance takes time. A lot of time. There are only so many hours in my work day as I am a mom to 3 young kids, I am the only employee in my small business, and I also teach part time at a local university. If I were to spend the time it takes to ensure that insurance was covering all of the services I provide, I would barely have time to see patients. And when I did have time to see them, that time would be spent jumping through hoops and not getting to know my patients so that I can best treat them.
Insurance has a lot of input in what kind of care they think I should be giving
Much of the health care I offer is integrative and will often stray from what is in a run of the mill practice, for example, if you go to a traditional Ob/Gyn practice for an irregular period, you’ll be offered birth control and sent on your way. That’s great if you wanted birth control, but if you want to figure out WHY your period is irregular and HOW you can fix it, birth control pills will not help you. In fact, they’ll add fuel to the flame of hormonal imbalance. I order extensive tests so we can see where the hormonal imbalance is and then implement changes in your diet, lifestyle, and supplement regimen to help get your hormones balanced again. Insurance is happy to cover birth control pills, for some reason they see less benefit in lab tests to determine imbalances and health improvement practices to better achieve a healthy lifestyle. By not billing to insurance, I’m able to provide the type of care I know can help my clients.
All of the care I offer is individualized for each client
Not having to spend time billing to insurance or worrying about if they’ll cover the testing I’ve ordered, I instead get to spend my time researching and designing a plan unique to each client. No two patients are ever exactly the same. Since I’m not spending time fighting with insurance companies, I instead get to make sure each patient gets the best care for them, rather than the one size fits all approach.
Since I’m not on the phone (on hold) with insurance companies during my working hours, I have more time to answer patient questions and return phone calls. I’m also not burnt out from spending all my time on administrative tasks that I used to have to dedicate a whole work day per week for.
Increased face-to-face time with each patient
One way medical providers make money is to run a revolving door practice, which often meets long wait times and short appointments. They have to run their practice this way to cover the overhead cost of utilizing medical billers as well as dealing with how much insurance companies adjust bills for reimbursement. Many times you leave feeling rushed and frustrated that you forgot to ask all your questions. Since I don’t need to hire extra people to do my billing and I collect my fees at time of service, I don’t have to worry about these stressors. So I can spend time with my patients answering questions and getting to the bottom of the issues they’re facing. I also don’t have a waiting room full of patients. The time spent in my office is well utilized.
I started my practice because I love helping people, and I love that I get to help people without having the constant headache of insurance looming in the background. I am also able to print out a super bill for my services that patients can submit to their insurance companies, which may qualify them for reimbursement. Investing in your health in a cash only practice can seem funny at first, but the benefits are priceless.