Understanding and applying appropriate therapist billing practices is often essential to the well-being of a person's practice. Therapists should take the time to thoroughly understand both patient and insurance billing laws and policies as they exist within the jurisdiction where they practice. The therapist should then establish his own business policies that can help him remain in compliance. In many cases, it is a good idea to own and use specialized software or subscribe to an online service that can manage electronic billing. In some cases, a therapist may wish to hire an outside service or an employee with experience in therapist billing so as to expedite client and insurance payment.
Therapists typically must handle two types of billing, billing the client directly for services and submitting claims to insurance companies or government health plans. The decision to accept insurance or to participate in a national health care plan is often a matter of choice for therapists. Some therapists prefer to not participate in these plans and will require clients to pay them directly, although the client may have the option of submitting his bill to an insurance company for reimbursement. Therapists who are concerned about overhead and long claim payment delays may choose to not accept insurance, although this may reduce the number of clients they can attract to their practice. This aspect of therapist billing practice should generally be understood as a business decision that each therapist must make on his own.
In some jurisdictions, government health plans and private insurers alike may require or strongly encourage health care professionals to submit claims electronically. To do this, the therapist may need to select software or an online service that can process these claims. The therapist may wish to investigate several different packages and services to see which she feels most comfortable using. In some cases, she may find that a package helps her to avoid mistakes by assisting her in choosing appropriate billing codes and monitoring claim deadlines. These services can make it much easier for her to accept insurance without experiencing a great deal of frustration.
Some therapists may decide that their time is better spent working with clients than managing their own bookkeeping. These therapists may wish to find a medical billing service that has a strong track record in therapist billing. Although these services can being more costly than managing one's own books, they can often relieve a health care professional of burdensome tasks and reduce errors and mistakes.