Does this sound familiar? An insured patient comes to your cash-based clinic for treatment, you fill out the necessary paperwork to bill their insurance, the insurance pays the portion for which it’s responsible (if all goes to plan), and you send an invoice to the patient for the remaining balance. Days, weeks, even months go by, and after persistently hounding the patient for their payment, you finally receive it. It turns out the patient wasn’t intentionally dodging the bill—it just was no longer on their top of mind.
And that begs the question: Is there a way to fast track payments—and remove yourself from the convoluted insurance claims process altogether?
As a matter of fact, there is! Enter the superbill.
What is a superbill?
Think of a superbill as a claim you’d typically send to an insurance company for reimbursement. The differentiator, though, is that patients are responsible for submitting their own superbills—not the provider—in order to receive partial or full reimbursement for your cash services. Convenient, eh?
The main benefits of having a superbill at the ready is that they:
- Help streamline the reimbursement process for your patients;
- Enable you to attract and retain patients who have insurance—even if you do not accept insurance;
- Give you back the time you’d normally spend filling out insurance claims; and (perhaps most importantly)
- Empower you to ask for payment up front after each visit (and avoid the hassle of chasing after payments).
To ensure your superbill goes off to payers without a hitch, follow the instructions below.
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What should be included in a superbill?
This may seem obvious, but when it comes to superbills, payers are looking for more than your clinic’s contact information. They need to see the patient’s diagnosis, the specific services provided (along with their correct procedure codes), and pertinent provider information in order to determine what’s reimbursable.
So, in addition to prominently displaying your name, address, and phone number (a.k.a. your “NAP”) at the top of the superbill, you must also include the following information:
- Your clinic’s Place of Service (POS) code
- Your clinic’s tax ID number (TIN)
- The patient’s information (i.e., name, phone number, email)
- The reason for their visit (e.g., PT assessment)
- The patient’s diagnosis
- A list of services rendered (more on this below)
- The total amount charged
- Your name, credentials, license, and NPI number
- Your signature
Add procedure line items.
You know your services are worth every penny, and when your patients achieve optimal outcomes, they undoubtedly do, too. That said, patients and payers still want to know exactly what they’re paying for. For this reason, make sure you:
- Include separate line items for individual procedures as well as any applicable supplies (e.g., fitness bands, tape, or foam rollers).
- List the cost for each.
Not only will this help keep everyone on the same page, it’ll also protect you should the patient ever dispute a charge.
Provide convenient payment options.
Although the superbill places the onus for submitting and receiving reimbursements on the patient—thus leaving you free to charge and collect payments upfront—it’s still important that you provide patients with a few different payment options. This can boost your chances of avoiding unnecessary hangups when it actually comes time for your patients to pay. (And if your billing platform has an online payment option, that’ll speed up the process even more.) But, don’t forget to tell patients about the various ways they can make payments.
Give your superbill a personal touch.
While you don’t necessarily need to write each patient a long note whenever you send a superbill, personalizing them shows patients they are valued. Here’s how:
- Use words like “please” and “thank you” on the invoice.
- Include special messages for birthdays or major life events.
- Mention any special offers or discounts.
Also, when you actually hand the superbill to the patient, show them that you care (and make them feel special!) by offering to go through the line items and answer any of their questions.
If you’re having a hard time receiving prompt patient payments after each visit, then it might be time to rethink the way you bill for your services. Better yet, get started today by downloading our free physical therapy superbill template.