Things to Consider Before Credentialing: Is Insurance Billing Right For You?
You might be thinking at this point in the process that it makes sense to get on an insurance company. You are a freshly minted licensed therapist and you are eager to help clients and your community with your valuable services. You have studied for years for this work and you are chomping at the bit to grow your practice. You noticed that a lot of the therapists in your area take insurance and you might notice that they take a lot of insurance. You've never done this process before but you are optimistic that the free marketing provided by the insurance company will be the key to growth in the future.
Before you dive right into the credentialing process, we would like to help expand your knowledge of the insurance billing process so that you are aware of some of the pain points of taking insurance. Taking insurance is not for everybody and we would not encourage everybody to take insurance. Fair warning, it is going to take a significant amount of fortitude, financial planning, and patience to take on insurance billing. This blog is actually intended to help you consider whether you are right to take insurance or if you should avoid the process altogether. We are not advocating that certain patients should not receive help; indeed we believe that all people should have access to mental health care. However, insurance billing can actually burn you out. It is important for your sustainability that you make the right decision here and develop the right referral channels for your area.
Insurance billing can be frustrating. Insurance companies are not too interested in paying out large sums of money. Insurance companies are still companies that are out for their best interest as well. That being said, insurance billing is very complicated. Even one letter or number out of place can reject or deny a claim and that can hold up your revenue indefinitely or you will have to lose the money straight out. There are ways to ensure that you do not lose money in this process but there are always situations that come up that will have an impact on your practice. If you are not a person that has a large window of tolerance for frustration or delayed revenue then insurance billing may not be right for you. However if you are a person that has a lot of patience and perhaps an emergency fund for your practice then you would have the space available to take on insurance.
Insurance billing can take a long time. Successful practices that receive weekly checks from the insurance company have one thing in common. They are all extremely organized and have clear processes and procedures which take time to develop. If you are the kind of entrepreneur that wants to run at a goal as fast as possible without documentation or proceduralizing your practice then we would not recommend taking insurance. However if you are the kind of entrepreneur that likes to go slowly, document everything, and is extremely organized then insurance billing would be perfect for you. Insurance companies care about one thing and that is what you can prove, not what you think is correct. If you are the kind of entrepreneur that is good at documenting details and demonstrating proof that you are correct then insurance is perfect for you. However if you are the kind of entrepreneur that is not concerned about the details then you could be at risk of losing money doing insurance billing.
Taking insurance requires communication between the therapist and the client. One of the advantages that private pay practices have over insurance-based practices is that their revenue is not dependent on a third party. The therapist simply communicates with the client and the client pays the bill. However with insurance you have now introduced a third party that you must communicate with along with the client and the therapist. If that kind of communication around money and information is troublesome to you or you feel will interfere with the therapy process then insurance billing is not right for you. However if you are the kind of therapist that does not have any problem communicating with the client about their information or about money then insurance might be just perfect for you.
Overall, we want you to make the right decision for your practice. We want to show you some of the pain points that therapists run into in private practice so that you can determine whether you have the right stuff to take insurance.
If you have any questions or doubts about whether you are the person that should take insurance we may be able to help you expand on that conversation. Reach out to us through the website or call us at 734-437-9432 and we will be happy to talk to you about your practice’s needs.