Cost is a common concern for patients and a vital component of any successful therapy practice. Patients want to know what to expect when it comes to provider pricing, and you need to have a plan in place that sets you up for growth.
When there is too much mystery surrounding the cost of care, several things can happen. Patients may start services with the assumption that they can afford them or that their insurance covers enough of the cost, only to end up with a bigger bill than they expect. This often leads to them avoiding payments and accounts and spending longer periods in A/R. Patients can also avoid setting future appointments when they learn the cost of care after their first bill rather than before. Transparency from the beginning is key to patient engagement.
For providers, a clear pricing plan is essential for making sure you are earning enough for your skills, and your specific services, to sustain your practice and lifestyle, and ultimately grow your organization.
What is a Pricing Plan in Therapy?
A pricing plan for therapists is a breakdown of the cost of services. These costs are determined based on a variety of influencing factors such as your qualifications, your skill set, the type of service, your schedule, the cost to run a practice, and more. Common costs that need to be determined for therapists include their per-session rate/fee, their rates for individual services such as assessments or packages, or whether or not they offer a sliding structure (a fee that changes based on a client’s income rather than a fixed rate).
Pricing Strategies for Therapists:
- Cost to run your practice – While the most important part of your practice is patient care, there is more to running it than just attending sessions. You need office space, administrative staff, note-taking software, schedule software, billing software, reporting tools, office decor, and other costs that go into running your practice that has to be factored into your pricing plan. To sustain your practice, your fees need to account for these costs because the money to pay for these things must come from somewhere.
- Cost to sustain your lifestyle – The kind of lifestyle you want is also an important factor in determining your pricing plan. The higher your fees, the higher your income will be. But you need to be charging enough to be able to pay your personal bills.
- Your qualifications – Your qualifications play a huge role in how you structure your pricing plan. The more qualified you are, the more you can charge for services. Some therapists within an organization may be able to charge higher rates if they have more education or experience than others.
- Your schedule – You may also need to adjust your rates based on your schedule. Providers who work full-time may be able to charge a lower rate and still be able to sustain their practice and lifestyle. Those that work fewer hours and see fewer patients may have to charge higher rates to accomplish the same financial goals.
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Communicating Clearly and Transparently About Billing with Clients:
Once you’ve determined your fees, the next step is to make a plan for how to clearly communicate with clients what your services and costs are. Creating transparency with clients when it comes to billing benefits providers in several ways. When mystery exists around your services and their price, clients start to assume the worst. A common stigma surrounding mental health services is that they are costly and unattainable to the average person.
By creating a window into your pricing strategies and most frequently used services, you show them that this is not the case. The key to creating price transparency in therapy is:
- Avoiding the use of jargon –can confuse patients and mislead them about the true cost of their care.
- Give clients easy ways to access pricing information (billing portals, informational documents, etc.) – with an easy way to access it, they’re more likely to participate.
- Give them as much information as possible – When it comes to how you bill and collect payment for services, the more info the better.
- Inform them how their coverage comes into play – talk about their copays and coverage so they know what to expect when it comes to out-of-pocket costs. It’s usually a lot different than your initial price tag.
With more information, individuals can make better-informed decisions for themselves and their care. Creating price transparency may be the thing that helps push someone to get therapy if they see that it’s affordable, help them feel comfortable making payments on their account, and more.
How Therapy Billing Software Can Help:
With billing software for therapists, providers can gain insight into their revenue cycle to see how their current pricing plan is working for them. They can pinpoint weak points in their process and make corrections to improve their bottom line so that their practice can scale and grow. Not only this, but they can gain key insights into how pricing impacts their patients. To learn more about a quality billing tool for your therapy practice, click here.