This letter is to inform you of our updated billing practice regarding receiving patient payments. Effective January 2015, we now require a credit or debit card to be on file with our office for full patient payment of services at each appointment.
Why the change? There are several reasons for this change. With the changing environment in healthcare, in particular the Affordable Care Act and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) more responsibility of payment is being placed on the patient. We need to be sure that patient balances are paid in a timely manner. To do this, we need to ensure we have a guarantee of payment on file in our office.
What is a Deductible and How Does It Affect Me? An annual deductible is the dollar amount you must pay out of pocket during the year for medical expenses before your insurance coverage begins to pay. For example, if your policy has a $2,000 deductible, you must pay the first $2,000 of medical expenses before the insurance company begins to pay for any services. This works just like the deductible for your car insurance or homeowner’s insurance policy does.
When do I have to pay for services? Any time you receive medical care, you will be expected to pay in full for your services until your deductible is met. If you have a very large deductible, called a high- deductible insurance plan, you may have to pay out of pocket for most of your primary care services.
How will I know when my deductible has been met? You can call your insurance company at any time to check on how much of your deductible has been met and some insurance companies have this information available online. Every time you receive medical services, you will receive notification from your insurance company with how much they paid or did not pay if the amount went to your deductible when they send you an Explanation of Benefits (EOB.)
How will I know how much you are going to charge me? You will receive a letter in the mail (or e-mail) from your Insurance carrier that explains how much of your office visit they pay and how much you pay. This is called an Explanation of Benefits (EOB.) This letter tells you exactly, according to your health insurance coverage, how much of your health care bill is your responsibility and how much is the responsibility of your insurance to pay.
Then what? We receive the same Explanation of Benefits (EOB) that you do. Most Insurances will send your EOB prior to us receiving our copy. It arrives about 10-20 days after your appointment has been billed. We look at each EOB carefully and determine what your insurance has determined as patient responsibility. This is the same way we normally determine how much to send you a statement for in the mail. All patients with commercial insurance are required to keep a credit or debit card on file. If you do not wish to keep a card on file, we will expect an estimated payment at the time of service. For example, if your commercial insurance requires $190.00 to be paid for standard service and your deductible is not met, you will be expected to pay the $190.00 via check or credit card before you are seen, but this will not include ancillary charges that may arise out of your visit. Once we receive the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) on your visit, we will send a statement if your patient responsibility is higher than the originally collected amount or you will have a credit on your account if your patient responsibility is lower than the originally collected amount. Once we receive the insurance EOB for your visit, we will charge the credit card on file the exact amount as per the EOB that is stated to be patient responsibility. Once charged, we will email you a receipt of payment.