A lot of chiropractors wonder if they can provide a discount on non-covered services, such as decompression, to Medicare patients since Medicare won’t be covering the treatment. Unfortunately this is not a possibility and the penalty can be very strict.
As a chiropractor, if you give anything of value in excess of $10 per time, or $50 per year, you are subject to a potential violation of a law called the inducement law. This carries a $10,000 penalty from the federal government for each violation.
It’s fair to say that this is a very serious violation that you don’t want to deal with. You need to be very careful when giving any deals, or any sort of discounts, to your Medicare patients. The one exception is if you can prove your patient has financial hardship.
Many large clinics, hospitals, and chiropractic clinics prove this by establishing the household income for their patient. Typically they will state that the patient qualifies for a hardship discount if the household income is two or three times greater than the poverty index.
You can find out the poverty index pretty quickly online. This is the only exception to the rule so you don’t want to give any deals to any of your Medicare patients. It’s very important to avoid violating the inducement law.
So when it comes to non-covered services, find the appropriate service, the appropriate fee in your clinic, and don’t change it to a lesser fee, bill the patient for that amount and you can avoid violating the inducement law.
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