If attempting to serve two masters doesn't dissuade you from taking assignment, consider the multiple passages in the Book of Proverbs that warn of the dangers of co-signing on someone else’s loan. It got me to thinking. In some ways, isn’t this pretty much what taking assignment is?
When you co-sign a loan, you’re agreeing to make the payments if the primary borrower defaults. Naturally, in the case of taking assignment, you’re not making payments—you’re delivering chiropractic care. But you’re doing so without the assurance that you’ll be paid, and if you are paid, when and how much you’ll get. When you “co-sign” with the patient to accept what the insurance company will dole out, the only loser is you. The patient gets what they want. The insurance company makes a greater profit by cutting your bill. And you get caught holding the bag.
“Do you accept XYZ insurance?”
“Of course. We accept the fact that most people have some type of insurance to provide financial assistance in case of a medical emergency.”
“What I mean is, do you take insurance?”
“By take insurance do you mean, will we provide you with the finest chiropractic care possible, fill out pages upon pages of paperwork, file them with your insurance carrier, wait months to get paid, then discover that they’ve cut our bill by 60% and you’re long gone? Is that what you mean by taking insurance?”
“Uh... er... yes.”
“Well then, in that case, no. Frankly, your carrier has a poor credit history. Not just with our office, but with all chiropractors. So, we’re happy to accept you as a patient. It’s just that you’ll pay for your care and we’ll provide you with the documents you’ll need to get reimbursed. After all, your insurance policy is an agreement between you and your carrier—not us.”
“Okay, well, thank you.”
It was going okay until that last line where the patient hangs up and calls the other chiropractor down the street, right? Your imagination morphs that into all new patients would do that and you'd end up divorced, homeless and living under a bridge somewhere.
There’s just enough fear surrounding this issue to keep you from doing what you know you must. If you could use some coaching, I recommend a little something I’ve put together called Converting to Cash. You’ll even learn a cool technique to deal with this fear thing.
Hope isn’t a viable strategy.