Years ago, direct billing was messy business. Forms, letters, paperwork being sent back and forth, waiting weeks and sometimes months to get paid. Applying for provider numbers, making sure you were part of the "right" association so that you would actually get paid. Tedious and time consuming for a therapist who would rather spend their desk time researching new ways to heal people.
Telus Health eClaims is an online, single portal for direct billing several different insurance companies. It has streamlined and simplified the process to the point where even a die-hard refuse-to-direct-bill-ever therapist like myself has signed up to take advantage of it. Is it easy? If I can do, an untrained monkey can do it. That being said, its not without its drawbacks.
- Every insurance company still has its own processes and requirements. Great West Life might be willing to send you a cheque, but that doesn't mean that Industrial Alliance will. Read the fine print with every claim submission and be prepared for a few hiccups along the way.
- Requesting a certain method of payment does not guarantee it actually comes that way. Sometimes they will direct deposit, sometimes they will send a cheque, sometimes they will pay your patient. I suspect a magic 8-ball in their Accounts Payable departments.
- Taking in the information for direct billing is still time consuming. If you don't have a receptionist to walk people through their paperwork, make sure you have some extra time for getting all of their information. Are they the primary insured member? If not, what's the name and birth date of the primary insured member? Plan number? Member number? Who really killed JFK?
As an RMT with an anaphylactic response to paperwork, I dread direct-billing even with this system. Telus' recent email addressed a few of my concerns, but for me, quick payment is still the bottom line. Patients, not providers, will always get better service from the insurance companies. That having been said, if you have several patients with the same plan, it can work to your advantage, marketing your business as offering direct billing.
In health, MTSO staff