One of the common questions I get asked on a regular basis is “how do I get started in Massage Insurance Billing?” or “how do I bill insurance companies and get them to reimburse me?”. While I do not consider myself an expert in the field of massage insurance billing, I do bill insurance companies in my own practice for reimbursement and make a wonderful living doing so.
I was blessed to have gone to a great school that focused on SOAP notes and how to interact with attorneys, insurance companies and workers compensation. What my education did lack was exactly how to go about billing the insurance companies. When I opened up my business and began to work in the chiropractic clinic I was lost, confused and extremely intimidated. The only thing I knew was how to do a client intake and chart my session on my SOAP notes. Thankfully however, I was again blessed and worked with an amazing chiropractor and massage therapist who were willing to walk me through a few things on how to get started.
However, you may not have the same experience I did and be left wondering “how do I even get started?”. If you don’t have a mentor walking you through everything, chances are you aren’t going to know what you are doing. Massage insurance billing is like playing with the big dogs and you better know what you are doing or prepare to face overwhelming feelings of frustration and tons of valuable time wasted.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully, there are resources to turn to when learning the ropes of massage insurance billing. We are blessed to have some great educators and mentors in our field that have paved the way for our success.
Here are my 2 recommendations for learning massage insurance billing
The first resource I want to highlight is something that was a required purchase while I was in school. I am so thankful it was! Hands Heal: Communication, Documentation, and Insurance Billing for Manual Therapists by Diana L. Thompson is a must have for any massage therapist needing to learn the ropes of massage insurance billing. Diana does a great job highlighting SOAP charting, communication with insurance companies, intake forms, ethics and more. Diana has saved me many times when a physician requests a progress report for a patient. I just go over my SOAP notes from the specific client sessions and turn to her page on how to prepare a professional progress report. I feel confident knowing I can supply a physician with a professional, thorough progress report that makes me stand out as a competent, educated, professional massage therapist. This book is a must read for any massage therapist needing a mentor in learning massage insurance billing.
The second resource I highly recommend is Vivian Madison-Mahoney’s Massage Insurance Billing course. This is an in depth, thorough, training program that educates and teaches exactly what you need to be doing to become an insurance provider, how to fill out the necessary forms, how to bill correctly, what you can bill for, codes, forms, you name it…Vivian teaches it. Since 1984 Vivian has been involved in our industry as a massage insurance billing expert. She knows massage insurance billing on every level and has made it possible for you to learn at a fraction of the time and expense it has cost her over the years. There isn’t anything to think about when deciding on whether or not you are going to purchase this course. After just 1 client you will have made your money back. This course is a must have!
While some may argue that massage insurance billing isn’t worth the time and effort it takes, I disagree. I am blessed to live in Washington State and have the ability to become an in network provider for private health insurance companies. My practice grew in only a matter of a few months when I made myself available to bill through insurance companies for my clients. While not every state does offer the availability to bill through a persons private health insurance, it is my understanding that in nearly every state you are automatically able to bill through PIP (motor vehicle accidents) as well as Labor & Industries (workers compensation/on the job injuries). Vivian explains all of this in her Massage Insurance Billing course.
If you are deciding on becoming an insurance provider in your massage practice please take a few things into consideration. While it does open up your doors to more clients and does provide an extra income stream, it is NOT easy work, especially when getting started. I don’t want to scare you away into thinking it’s impossible, quite the contrary. Massage insurance billing is very possible and can provide a great additional stream of income to your business. But, there is work involved in learning the process and actually taking the right steps to do it correctly. If you are willing to take the time it can be very rewarding. Consider if you are willing to wait 4-8 weeks to be reimbursed, sometimes longer. Consider if you are willing to spend the time talking on the phone with insurance companies if your claims get denied. Consider if you want to take on this extra responsibility. Because I am a believer in multiple streams of income, I would do it again in a heartbeat!
On another note, if you are a Washington State Massage Therapist and are interested in how you can become credentialed with the private health insurance companies that are available to us, please visit the follow links:
I hope this has helped jump start your career towards becoming an insurance provider. If you know of any other great resources in learning insurance billing I would love to hear them. Best of luck on your journey!
Wishing You Much Success,