We are asked this question quite often and our response is always a resounding “Yes!” There are always things that affect medical billing but none of them (so far) have changed the need for medical billing services. The passing of the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) is just one of these recent changes. Many people have wondered if the ACA would make billing services go out of business. On the contrary. Now more than ever, billing services are needed. While the Affordable Health Care Act has definitely influenced the field of medical billing, it has not decreased the need for educated medical billers. The key word in that last sentence is educated. Doctors need experienced, informed people handling their billing.
Many of these ACA plans have very high out of pocket expenses. Gone are the days where the provider can simply rely on the amount they receive from the insurance carrier and not worry so much about collecting the patient’s portion (although that was never a good idea – we do know many offices that had that mentality). It is important that the person doing the billing is on top of ALL billing, including patient billing. Many providers who do the billing in house lose money because:
1. They hire people to do the billing but really don’t know what is happening in that area. They are only aware of the bottom line – did the practice bring in enough money to cover all of the expenses and pay the doctor a little. They don’t know:
a. how much they billed out
b. how much was received
c. how much is still outstanding
d. are denials being handled
e. are the aging reports being worked
f. are the patients being billed
g. how much is being written off
2. Often there is a lot of turnover in the provider’s office. This can result in poor training. Did the previous person leave unexpectedly? Does anyone still working at the provider’s office know the job?
3. Many times the biller in the office has many other duties as well including checking in patients, answering phones and cleaning the bathroom. Go ahead and laugh but we know it’s true. Often times the job of billing gets pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list. Not because it isn’t important but because it can.
4. A provider may think that their biller knows what they are doing, but do they really? How can the provider be sure? Do they keep up with all of the changes?
This is why billing services are still a very good business opportunity. As we have always said, it is no “get rich quick” scheme. It is hard work but it is a needed field. It is also so important to keep up with changes. Whether they are big or small they affect the income. It is increasingly difficult for a small provider to keep up with the expenses of a medical practice. They must find better ways to keep the income steady and maximize their receivables. Larger practices must make sure that money is not slipping through the cracks since they have so many higher expenses. Outsourcing to a billing service can be a smart move for both the small and larger offices.
If you are considering starting a medical billing service but don’t know where to begin, check out our online medical billing courses.