Q&A: Discounting services

January 22, 2010

Get your questions answered on how to charge people for their appointments in light of a tough economy.

Q: Because a lot of people are losing their jobs and their insurance, we are trying to figure out what to charge people for their appointments. We don't want to charge our full amount. Should we charge a percentage of our full amount, or should we charge what Medicare allows?

A: Look at current Medicare and managed care plan allowables and use those amounts as a guide for setting charges for these patients. You'll want to avoid charging less than those amounts. You could consider applying the discount on tests and procedures rather than on evaluation and management services. Some of these patients may be able to take advantage of the expanded COBRA coverage offered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act enacted in early 2009 and extended in December. Others may now be eligible for Medicaid. You also may want to develop a list of community resources that may be available to help the uninsured in your area, particularly assistance with prescription drug costs.