In a world where plastic reigns, the idea of a cash only Family Practice sounds almost antiquated. The truth is that more physicians and health care providers are taking a serious look at the cash only business model.
Cash Payment Methods
The phrase “cash only” means that all services are paid for at the time of treatment. The Family Practice adopting this payment method usually accepts payments of cash, debit card, check or credit card. Why are some Family Practices giving serious thought to cancelling health care contracts and adopting cash policies?
With the cash only method, the Family Practice does not file insurance claims or other such paperwork. Avoiding insurance paperwork, filing, and billing means there is no need to pay a staff member to process insurance claims and forms. There’s no need to invest in software to track collections and insurance claims. Overhead is greatly reduced.
Potential Problems with Cash Only
Some health care plans prohibit physicians from serving members of the health plan if that physician has recently terminated the contract between the insurance company and the physician.
State insurance regulations must be taken into consideration. Medicaid rules regarding the cash only Family Practice should be carefully reviewed. Most Family Practice physicians who choose to go “cash only” opt out of Medicare. Doing so involves completing several steps of Medicare rules and regulations.
Questions to Consider with Cash Only
Family Practice physicians and health care providers considering the cash only basis should first decide if doing so would put the practice at severe financial risk or even end it. If the practice is operating in an area with large numbers of patients who are uninsured, the cash only system may work quite well.
How do current patients feel about the switch to a cash only method? If too many of the current patients are not willing to stay with the Family Practice, more thought and consideration should be given to the idea.
Consider services and fees. What services will the Family Practice offer? What will be charged for each service? It’s also important to take the hospital into consideration. Will patients in the hospital be seen by the Family Practice physician(s) or will in-hospital care be managed by the referred medical professional?
Meeting Financial Responsibilities and Setting Up Fees
How will switching to a cash only basis affect the Family Practice bottom line? How hard will it be to pay bills and maintain cash flow during the transition? Calculate all overhead and expenses. How many patients will the Family Practice need to see in order to cover current overhead?
How much money will be saved by switching to the cash only method? How much time and staff expense can be cut by making the change? It isn’t unusual for a Family Practice to make the switch to cash only to find more patients can be seen, quality of patient care does not suffer, and the bottom line improves.
The cash only management method of Family Practice is worth considering. It isn’t for every practice but when it does work, it tends to work very well.