Caught Up in the Codes: Benefits of Unbundled Pricing
Have you ever gotten a medical bill that was far more than you expected to pay, and you couldn’t even figure out what services it actually covered? This is an all too common occurrence in the medical field where complicated codes must correspond with each and every service provided.
Current Procedural Terminology, or CPT, codes are set forth by the American Medical Association. These unique codes are designed to cover medical, surgical and diagnostic services. However, if a service does not have a CPT code assigned to it, then it most likely gets lumped together in a group, leaving you to foot the bill for services that you may or may not have received. This concept is known as bundled pricing.
Disadvantages of Bundled Pricing
The major issue with bundled pricing is that you are stuck paying for a group of services that may have never been rendered. The bigger problem, however, is that if a particular service does not have a code, most physicians simply won’t perform it.
A prime example is a test for speech-in-noise (SIN) listening ability, which is a critical assessment in order to properly diagnose hearing loss and prescribe the right hearing aid. Since this test does not have a specific code, many audiologists don’t administer it and are left guessing. This is a huge disservice to their patients.
Another vivid example is the fact that most audiologists do not provide an aural rehabilitation (AR) program for their patients. An AR programs allows patients to get the absolute most out of their hearing aid as they learn how to listen while their brain adjusts to this new change.
Sadly, both the lack of SIN testing and a proper CPT code means that audiologists have no way of billing for their time, therefore most patients are never even offered an AR program.
Transparency in Practice
At Audiology by Accent, we stressed the need to be completely transparent with our patients regarding the services they need as well as those for which they are billed.
Audiology by Accent strives to model this transparency by offering unbundled pricing. Called Peace of Mind pricing, the goal is that you know exactly what you will be paying for as well as all treatment options offered. There are no hidden costs or mislabeled services.
Benefits of Unbundled Pricing
Unbundled pricing allows you to see every step in the diagnostic process, including testing, services and hearing aid fees. Each cost is itemized so that you only pay for the services that you actually receive.
• Offers wholesale cost for hearing aids
• No hidden fees
• Cutting-edge technology at a fraction of the cost
• No need to shop around or wait for sales
• Individualized care plan
Certainly, patients should be billed for all CPT services that are performed, but in keeping with best practices, audiologists should not limit themselves to these codes when it comes to pivotal assessments and treatments.
An individualized care plan should be just that…individualized. At Audiology by Accent, doctors will discuss and review precisely which services are recommended as well as what is and is not covered by insurance. Ultimately, payments do not drive clinical practices; the needs of each patient are the utmost priority when making every decision.