In the ever-changing setting of healthcare, convenience is being priced at a premium. For many clients, having access to affordable and convenient healthcare is a priority as they seek out new providers. This trend extends into the nutrition and wellness sector, resulting in a steady rise of nutrition professionals beginning to offer telehealth services in their practices.
Having a telehealth nutrition practice offers many cost benefits, including:
- Decreased overhead spent on office space, rent and utilities
- Time saved on commuting frees up more time in schedule for additional client sessions
- More convenient for clients, resulting in less late cancellations or rescheduled appointments
- Larger opportunity to offer add-on virtual services, that generate passive income
- More affordable for clients, especially those who have high-deductible insurance plans (an increasingly common insurance choice among millenials)
Despite the cost benefits of providing telehealth care, many nutrition professionals struggle with how to price their virtual services. In this article, we’ll discuss best practices for pricing your telehealth services, how to incorporate additional concierge nutrition services (for a fee) and ways to bill for your virtual care.
Pricing for Virtual Nutrition Services
Should I charge less for virtual services than in-person care?
The quick answer to this commonly asked question is NO. You should not price lower for your virtual nutrition services. In fact, you should price them the same, but consider offering more than just a one-on-one virtual call. In nutritional care, providing ongoing support and engagement helps to drive client success, so providing these concierge services brings both value and accountability to your clients.
Some suggestions for concierge nutrition services that you can provide virtually:
- Food diary reviews
- Between session support via messenger
- Sharing documents to reinforce the topics you discussed in-session
- Creating an online program or educational series, that can automatically distribute content to enrolled clients
Many nutrition professionals choose to include these services within their packages, or offer them as an add-on service for clients to generate additional revenue streams.
Pro Tip: Don’t undervalue your virtual services. Many nutrition professionals price their virtual services less than in-person services. True, you may be saving costs on overhead and commuting, but your time is equally as valuable. Your time and your expertise are what people are paying for.
Pricing telehealth nutrition services for insurance-based practices:
For insurance-based practices, virtual sessions may be covered by your client’s insurance provider. Ultimately, reimbursement for telehealth nutrition services depends entirely on the insurance provider and client plan. As you get started with telehealth, you’ll want to reach out to a client’s insurance carrier first to confirm virtual coverage. It’s important to ask which codes are reimbursable, if an in-person initial consultation is required and which forms of telehealth are accepted (video-chat only, or phone sessions as well?). As you become more familiar with the insurance providers that you’re in-network with, you’ll be able to better determine the reimbursement process.
If your client is not covered for telehealth through their insurance, many providers choose to offer virtual check-ins at a self-pay rate. For an occasional virtual sessions, you may want to consider making this rate comparable to what your late-cancellation fee is. This way you can suggest that in lieu of cancelling a session, your client pay for a virtual call. This will help them stay on track, and provide them with a valuable service as opposed to cancelling.
For your insurance-based clients that will no longer use their insurance, but want to continue working together virtually, create a self-pay concierge package for them to purchase.
How to Collect Payment for Your Virtual Services
For a smooth and professional transaction, it’s best to have a system in place for collecting payments from virtual clients. The most essential aspect is to use a secure platform to collect and store client’s billing information. When building your nutrition practice, using an all-in-one practice management platform for billing, scheduling and charting can save your practice both time and money.
Leveraging Healthie to build (and bill) for your virtual nutrition services:
Healthie’s all-in-one practice management platform is designed with nutrition professionals in mind. With both Zoom and Stripe integrations, Healthie allows you to book, conduct and bill for telehealth services all in one secure place.
Here are some ways you can leverage Healthie to incorporate virtual care into your nutrition practice:
- Manage your virtual schedule and allow clients to book telehealth sessions
- Create client packages or subscription services tailored for your telehealth services
- Conduct one-on-one or group virtual calls (Zoom Integration)
- Utilize client engagement tools like Healthie Chat and a photo-based food journal to virtually support your clients between sessions
- Provide add-on virtual services through the platform with Healthie Programs
- Chart during a client’s virtual session using the Healthie EHR platform
- Build up your virtual documents library, and share documents with clients for additional support
- Securely store client credit information or HSA/FSA cards within a client’s Healthie profile, request payments for services or directly charge clients at time of service (Stripe integration)
- Download periodic financial reports showing all of your billing transactions within a selected time frame for telehealth sessions for your records and analysis
- Submit CMS-1500 claims for insurance-based clients who are covered for telehealth services
Interested in learning more about Healthie’s telehealth services? Start your free trial and launch your first telehealth session today.