Launching a medical insurance billing enterprise has the advantage of low start-up costs. Medical insurance billers (MIBs) are aware of the major financial outlays, but there are many smaller costs that are often overlooked in the excitement of entrepreneurship. In the conclusion of this two-part series, Nitin Chhoda inventories the smaller costs of doing business.
MIBs work with computers, digital communications and electronic claim submission, but there are still occasions when paper documents are required.
CMS 1500 forms are the only official claim document accepted by Medicare carriers for reimbursements. They’re available in boxes of varying quantities, ranging in price from $35 for 500 to $150 for 5,000.
Need For Speed
High-speed Internet is essential for MIBs. Those living in highly populated areas can obtain high speed service for as little as $25, but speeds are on the low end of the high-speed scale. Expenditures for the highest speeds can top $150 per month depending upon the provider. Installation fees may also be charged.
MIBs working in rural areas aren’t as fortunate in regard to pricing options. Entrepreneurs living in a country setting may have to rely on satellite service for their Internet connection. Low end speeds can be purchased for as little as $50 per month, while power plans can range from $100-$150 per month.
Customers should also be aware that many plans have usage limits. Additional costs for MIBs may be assessed for those who exceed the ISP’s limits. Some companies simply throttle the available speeds for consumers who exceed their usage.
Talk Isn’t Cheap
A dedicated phone line is essential. MIBs will spend a significant amount of time on the phone and a speakerphone is a wise investment. It allows billers to continue to work even if they’re on hold. It’s not possible to answer the phone 24/7 and MIBs will want to invest in a phone system with the ability to record voice messages.
Depending on the provider, an additional line can cost as little as $10 for MIBs, while other companies will view it as a completely “new” phone service at a cost of up to $50. A speaker phone with answering and message capabilities will range from $50-$100. Expect to pay $150 for a cordless model.
Most phone companies offer voice messaging services for a fee of up to $10 per month for those who want more than a simple phone answering machine.
Lost data or a fried hard drive will quickly put MIBs out of business. Invest in an uninterrupted power supply for potential outages and a surge protector. A power surge can permanently damage a machine, as can low voltage. Power protection costs range from $20-$200.
An additional cost for the protection of costly equipment and valuable data will be a thumb drive or separate drive to back-up files and information.
A thumb drive will range from $10-$70 depending on its storage space, while a 2 terra byte drive can run up to $500. Electronic medical record (EMR) technology provides regular back-up in the cloud.
The cost of conducting business requires MIBs to plan ahead for every contingency. High-speed Internet, reliable communications and data protection are relatively inexpensive, but the cost is an essential part of the medical billing business and critical for a reliable and reputable firm.