Q. Can seniors pre-pay for their chiropractic care?
A. We get this question quite often and while many chiropractic coaches and practice management programs advise DC’s to collect fees for services weeks ahead of the actual service date, for your Medicare patients, this procedure is a problem.
PLEASE BE AWARE:
It is against the law to receive pre-payment for services from your Medicare patients.
The rules for the Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN) state that on all Medicare patients, the Doctor must make an assessment each and every visit so he/she can inform the patient TODAY if they believe those services will be payable (or not payable) by the Medicare carrier.
If not payable by the Medicare carrier, the Doctor MUST inform the patient PRIOR to that service so the patient can make an informed consumer decision whether to take financial responsibility for the non-payable service or decline receiving that service alltogether.
It doesn’t make a difference if you are a PARTICIPATING PROVIDER OR A NON-PARTICIPATING PROVIDER. Collecting money for services in the future for this patient is illegal. If you have been doing this in your office we recommending ending this procedure immediately!
Medicare can be an excellent program, providing services to people who otherwise could not receive them. However, you must follow the rules so you don’t find yourself in Medicare trouble!