It is depressing the number of times I hear consultant surgeons complaining about insurance companies.
In my experience the reasons normally cited are incorrect.
I’ve lost track how often I’ve been told an insurance company won’t pay for something. Yet when I ask if the insurance company have actually been asked IF they will accept a charge, the answer comes back that they have not.
I have all the private medical insurance companies on speed dial. They need to be as I speak to most of them every single day of the week. There are many, many things I’m already aware of. There are also some things that I don’t know or more importantly, that may have CHANGED.
I ask them all sorts. For example – I ask them to confirm a patient’s policy number. I ask them to confirm why an invoice has only been partially paid. Sometimes I ask them if I can or cannot charge for a certain medical episode.
I was invoicing for an orthopedic consultant surgeon recently. His specialism was knees and during a follow-up consultation, he administered a W9040. This particular CCSD code represents an injection into a joint or soft tissue.
The question arose if I could charge a particular insurance company for a follow-up consultation fee AND a fee for the injection. So I called them. The answer came back yes I could. I could charge £120 for the consultation and £50 for the injection i.e. £170. The insurance company would happily pay such an invoice.
Compare and contrast that with work I was performing for a dermatologist recently.
This time the question arose of an S5210 (an Injection into subcutaneous tissue). I’ve only recently started invoicing for this client and thus it was important to establish what could and could not be charged for. More specifically, would the insurance company accept an invoice for the follow-up consultation AND the injection? Yes, they would. £125 for the consultation and £108 for the injection i.e. £233.
Remember however that I had asked ONE specific insurance company. When I asked others the same question, some would NOT allow the separate charge.
What was concerning was previously the dermatologist had not been charging for the S5210 at all.
I actually asked his practice manager why. The answer came back that the question had been asked of an insurance company before and the answer was no. The problem was that whilst the insurance company concerned did not (and still don’t) allow a charge, other insurance companies DID allow a separate charge. But nobody had asked the other companies. Instead, it was assumed the decision covered ALL insurance companies.
It was only by speaking with the individual insurance companies that I identified which ones would accept the charge and which ones would NOT accept the charge.
Insurance companies are NOT the enemy. If you call them, you may be surprised at what you are told. That is not to say you will always obtain a positive response but more times than not you may.