Generally speaking chiropractors are allowed to use pre payment plans. However, a lot of states now have specific rules on how you do pre payment plans and some states don’t allow pre payment plans. For instance, in South Dakota you can’t do a pre payment plan.
You can go ahead and designate how many visits you think the patient will need, but you can’t collect before hand for those visits. You have to wait until the end of the month, or the end of the plan to collect.
In other states like Minnesota, Florida, and others, pre payment plans are growing right now in chiropractic. More and more of these states are requiring a specific set of things you must comply with in order to do pre payment plans.
First, you need to treat the money you receive from the patient as the patient’s money until you actually render the service.
As a clinic you should set the money aside, you can pool all your patient pre pay plans into one trust account, so long as the money is not used, tapped into, or transferred to your operating account until you’ve actually given the service to the patient.
There are a couple really good reasons to set up a trust account. One of these reasons being, what would happen if you died suddenly and there was nobody there to take over your clinic?
Patients would be entitled to their money back, and if there is no money in a trust account to give back to them your clinic is going to end up with a lot of really unhappy patients.
You want to make sure that you can take care of those patients, and make sure that their money is available to them.
The other reason, what if a patient were to come back to you and say, “Listen, I’m moving out of state and I’m not going to be able to come in for all those visits. How much am I owed?” When this happens it’s really important that you are able to determine how much the patient is owed and give them a reimbursement right away.
If you don’t have money set aside in an account to do that it can cause some problems when trying to get the patient their money right when they request it. Those are just a couple practical things you will want to consider. Additionally, be very careful on how you do deals in conjunction with pre payment plans.
When you add a percentage deal onto a pre payment plan it becomes very difficult to calculate exactly what services are going to cost. Remember that when you’re doing a pre payment plan you are just doing a recommendation for future care. It is rare that the patient gets exactly what is recommended in the plan.
The patient either gets more, or gets less, and unless you have a per service fee determined down to the penny you are going to have a really hard time tracking that down in your billing department.
Do your billing department a favor and don’t do percentage deals on top of pre payment plans.
Figure out, down to the penny, what your services will be charged at and stick with that, and track what services patients actually had whether it’s to the plan or a little bit divergent from the plan, and make sure that you’ve got a good contract in place that tells the patient and tells your clinic what is going to happen if they want their money back quickly or before they end the plan, or what’s going to happen if they end up getting services not listed in their pre payment plan.
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