Welcome to my blog, a place to explore and learn about the experience of running a psychiatric practice. I post about things that I find useful to know or think about. So, enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why Would I Do That?

Is it just me, or do other people get requests from insurance companies to accept less money for services?

It usually starts with a fax, with some indication of urgency, like, "Time Sensitive Material, Please Respond Immediately!" The first time this happened, I thought, "Oh, my patient needs some form filled out so she can be reimbursed, I better take care of it." I don't accept any insurance, but I do give my patients bills they can submit on their own, and if they need some form or other filled out, I'll do so.

But insurance companies are sneaky, and I'm glad I read the form carefully. What it said was, "You billed the patient for X dollars. We want you to agree to be paid half that, and if you sign your name, that's the most you can ever be reimbursed. And by the way, we also expect you to hand over your firstborn child."

So when I get these, I ignore them. Then the insurance company usually follows up with a few more faxes, and finally, a phone call, asking me to call them back regarding a claim. Again, they make it sound ominous.

What is going on here? Do they really think I'm going to accept half my usual fee? What incentive are they offering? I'm no expert, but I'm guessing that in any genuine negotiation, each party has to have something to offer the other. But it's just, "You accept less money, and in exchange, we give you absolutely nothing." I don't understand how they think they can convince me. Maybe it's just the wild hubris of very deep pockets who believe the future of healthcare is ONLY through them.

Has anyone else had this experience? I'd love to hear what people think the rationale is behind it.

Oh, and if you would be so kind as to take my VERY BRIEF and HIGHLY USEFUL survey, I'd be most grateful.


  1. I turned my fax machine off and my life has been so much better.

    1. Sounds good. Unfortunately, I get lab results that way, so I can't turn it off.

  2. My practice is similar to yours, and I receive those faxes too. They do it in the hope of reducing their costs, i.e., if we agree to accept a much lower fee, they can reimburse our patients less. My faxes come from "Multiplan" which is apparently a 3rd party hired by health plans to send these annoying faxes. It costs them next to nothing to send these faxes, so it's a pretty good business model.

    I consider these junk-faxes, a complete waste of my paper, toner, and time. I wish there was a do-not-fax list similar to the do-not-call list for telemarketers. When I receive one, I write "I will never be interested in this. Remove me from your fax list" and fax it back. I haven't received one in a while now, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

  3. I get these all the time. I consider them junk as well but they are a huge waste of paper and often ring my home fax in the wee hours of the morning. It's extremely annoying. I called the representative and told them I was not interested and to remove me from the list. He said he'd tell them but it would probably only stop things temporarily. The faxes continued. I wrote a letter requesting I be removed from their list and faxed it to them. The faxes just keep coming in.