Good healthcare management requires a multi-faceted approach
Providing top-notch service is just one of those facets. These days we also need to ensure regulatory compliance and ensure cost-effectiveness with good revenue cycle management. What is the cost of medical billing? Under which circumstances is internal billing more efficient than an outsourced billing service?
Cost of Internal Billing
You may think internal billing is economical, but consider this - in addition to salary, wages, employee benefits, training, real estate occupancy, equipment and software, staff turnover, and communication and technology costs, in-house staff could make costly errors in claims resulting in occult losses to your practice income.
Outsourcing to the experts makes sense. Medical billing companies are experienced in efficiently processing claims, and they offer the added benefit of economies of scale. When choosing a service provider, you should be looking for a company offering customised billing that is tailor-made to suit your practice, taking into account your specialty, the number of providers, and your average claims per month. If you've decided to outsource your medical billing, the temptation may be to choose the absolute lowest bidder.
Fees can vary greatly. Some service providers charge as little as 3% of collections as their fee, but by choosing a company offering suspiciously low fees, you may find yourself burdened with costs you didn't bargain for. The deceptively low price could be based on withholding information about "hidden" fees. Here are some questions you should be asking when appointing a billing company: What is the clearinghouse fee? This can be as high as $99 per provider per month. Clearinghouses may also charge extra for electronic remittance advices. Implementation fees can be as high as $1000. Is there a patient statement fee? Some billing services levy an additional charge to send out patient statements. This can add up to hundreds of dollars a month when you consider that more and more statements are being mailed out due to higher patient deductibles an d co-insurance.
What are the actual medical billing fees? The average fee you should expect to pay is between 8 and 11% of collections. There may be a one-time start-up fee. There could be a monthly minimum charge that is as high as $1000. You may have to pay extra for data migration. You may pay reduced fees by performing some demographic data entry in-house. There could be a deposit required for hardware supplied to you. Lock-in or not? Is it a long-term contract? Some billing companies require a lock-in or long-term contract. It is wise, however, to choose a service that wants to earn your business by demonstrating continued profitability over the years, not one that wants you cemented in a long-term commitment with no accountability on their part. The lowest priced billing service may not be the most prudent choice. In addition to hidden costs, they may have under-qualified staff who don't follow up on claims.
Be aware of cost savings
They save money by cutting corners, but you lose money in uncollected claims. The offered price may be 3%, but your real cost could be in the region of 15-20%. Partnering with a professional medical billing company with affordable service and transparent pricing can help your practice navigate the challenges and complexities of the current healthcare scenario and generate increased revenue by way of properly processed claims.
7 Reasons to Outsource
In today's demanding healthcare scenario, medical claims and billing can be not only onerous and challenging, but also expensive for a medical practice. This is the reason more and more physicians and practice managers are choosing to outsource their medical claims management to professional medical billing companies. Not only does outsourcing save time and money, but it also means there is one less thing to worry about. Before making a decision about how you're going to handle your claims, consider these advantages that outsourcing has over billing in-house:
1. Focus on patients
Outsourcing your billing will mean you have more time to focus on your real job - quality patient care. This is especially important for smaller practices that cannot afford an army of staff. Physicians are more likely to provide excellent care to their patients if they are not burdened with the financial nitty-gritty of their practice.
2. Reduced billing errors:
A professional billing company brings to the table experienced billers who submit claims accurately and promptly. To survive in a competitive market, billing companies have to ensure that their billers are well trained and knowledgeable to submit accurate claims, thereby reducing the number of denied and rejected claims due to billing errors. Outsourcing to a professional billing company helps in minimising errors and maximising reimbursements on claims.
3. Bigger savings:
By outsourcing your claims and billing, you can save thousands of dollars every year in salary and wages of in-house staff, employee benefits, training, real estate, office supplies, furniture, equipment, software cost and upgrades, communication and technology costs. Whether you pay a flat rate per claim or a percentage of the reimbursement on each claim, outsourcing will cost less than what you would spend on in-house staff to provide the same exceptional service.
4. Improved revenue cycle management:
A professional medical billing company has sufficient staff to provide uninterrupted and timely reimbursement from your claims. In-house staff could fall sick or go on vacation, leading to a cash flow crunch because submission of claims has got backed up. Outsourcing provides for steady and continuous income from reimbursements, which is important for good revenue cycle management and the financial health of your practice .
5. Greater employee morale:
If your front office staff or receptionist is juggling the telephone, appointments, office management, and greeting patients, in addition to billing, not only are they overburdened, but patient satisfaction is also bound to suffer. Outsourcing greatly reduces the responsibility and workload of medical office staff, leading to improved productivity, efficiency, and morale.
6 . Better compliance:
Insurance companies don't make claims and billing easy. Protocols, rules, and regulations change every day. Outsourcing to a professional medical billing company means the latest requirements are no longer your hassle, and compliance with Medicare, Medicaid, and third party payers becomes the billing company's problem.
7. Increased revenue:
Outsourcing your medical billing is bound to show up on your income statement. Reduced overhead costs, timely submission of claims, and full reimbursement will all result in an efficient and profitable practice. Outsourcing medical billing is advantageous to you, your staff, your patients, and your bottom line.
A professional medical billing company can be an asset to your practice and give you that competitive advantage that is fundamental to both patient satisfaction and practice profits.