Health insurance is a valuable benefit that goes a long way towards helping make treatment more affordable. Over the years many of the major insurers have introduced requirements on practitioners to provide treatment according to their rules which have the potential to conflict with the arrangement or understanding between you, the patient, and your osteopath.
When you speak to them, many insurers say they ‘insist’ that osteopaths are paid direct rather than the insurer paying you back for fees you may have already paid out. This may be because some insurers settle client accounts (you) on a different time frame to their providers (your osteopath). Historically, on occasions our osteopaths have waited as much as six weeks for fees to be refunded, only to find that the patient excess has been deducted. Unfortunately, this means that they then have to chase you for the deficit – this can be embarrassing and come as a surprise as often this call may be many weeks after your treatment has actually ended. Additionally, some insurers (including BUPA & AXA PPP) will only pay a specific amount per session and expect you (their customer) to make up any shortfall, we do not believe it fair to offer different pricing to insured and uninsured clients.
Because of this, we cannot offer an account service for treatment provided for insured/any patients and instead ask all patients to pay for treatment at the time of the appointment – you are free to claim your fees back from your insurers but you must arrange them when notifying your claim – it is your choice.
So to help ensure there will be no misunderstanding with your insurers, we suggest that before you attend for a course of treatment:
- You tell them that you are intending to have osteopathy for your problem
- You tell them the name of the osteopath you will see (Reception can help you with this but please be aware not all osteopaths work with all insurers and vice versa)
- Check that they will repay you direct on provision of receipts and agree coverage amounts and a timescale – Remember this is your choice, they should not try to force you to let them pay direct
By telling your insurer this information, and getting written/emailed authority to proceed, all you need do is ask for receipts when paying for your appointment. Remember though, that every insurer is different and their rules may have changed since you last claimed so it is important that you check with them first. Your relationship with your insurer is personal to you so we are afraid we cannot get involved or be held responsible if there is any subsequent dispute.
We hope you can understand our reasons for enforcing this policy, which we hope you will agree is simpler and mutually fair.
Should you wish to ask any questions about this policy, please feel free to contact us