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Pros and Cons of Accepting Insurance for Dietitians

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Are you considering taking insurance in your nutrition private practice? Regardless of whether you’ve gone through the process of becoming an in-network provider or are curious about the process, taking insurance is a big step. It requires becoming familiar a new jargon and learning a side of private practice that might take a little getting used to.

Today, we’re discussing the pros and cons of taking insurance.

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The Advantages of Accepting Insurance:

1) Insurance can lead to meeting new clients. If someone is looking to find a nutrition professional nearby who is an in-network provider with their insurance company, it can act as a good referral source.

2) It’s a great lure to keep clients coming. Many insurance plans cover a certain number of counseling sessions per year. A client on insurance is more likely to continue coming back for the number of sessions covered by their plan.

3) Insurance can also alleviate some financial difficulties to open you up to a much larger scope of clients. Becoming a provider with Insurance companies such as Medicare and Medicaid will more readily allow you to connect with low-income or elderly clients who need nutritional care.

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Potential Cons to Accepting Insurance:

1) Insurance may take some time to figure out. You first must figure out what insurance companies will be most beneficial for you to become an in-network provider with and go through the process of getting an NPI number, becoming an LLC, along with a few other steps. It does take time.

2) Filing insurance claims can seem complicated. CMS 1500 forms can take a little while to get comfortable with. Once you’re set with that, insurance claims can be a test of your organizational skills. It’s a matter of tracking which claims have been processed and which you’re still waiting on to balance your books!

3) When you start taking insurance, you may get boxed-in rates set by the insurance company. That is something to check on with each company so that you know what you’re getting into when you apply to become an in-network provider.

Insurance can be an exciting new venture but remember it might not always align with your ambitions for your private practice. When deciding whether or not to start taking insurance or filing claims, your practice’s goals should always be at the forefront. There are some nutritional specialties that allow for more insurance coverage, such as diabetes prevention and management. Connecting with dietitians within your specialty to talk about their decision to take or not take insurance can be especially helpful in guiding you towards your decision.

If you’re not sure whether you want to take insurance but are interested in giving it a try, consider creating a Superbill. We sometimes call Superbills the “Junior Varsity” version of offering insurance benefits to your clients. Even if you aren’t credentialed by insurance, or if you’re considered out-of-network by some carriers, you can still provide a Superbill to your clients for a chance their services will be covered. It’s a great way to potentially reduce the cost of care for your clients!

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