Taking the Pain Out of Billing:
Office Ally is a True Therapist’s Ally
By Barbara Griswold, LMFT
(May 11, 2009)
It’s unusual that I come across a service that I think is so terrific that I would write an article about it, but get ready for the exception.
Office Ally is a tool that ANY therapist can use to submit a claim to ANY insurance company (this includes Medicare, Medicaid/MediCal, and TriCare/Champus). It’s easy, fast, and best of all, it’s free.
You don’t need to be a plan provider. You can submit just one claim. Or you can submit a whole bunch of claims, and OA will sort them, convert them to a HIPAA-compliant format, and submit them electronically to the proper insurance plan. There is no need to purchase software. You need nothing more than an internet connection.
Office Ally offers three options for claims submission. The first is a free online entry tool where you type data into a blank claim form on the website. You can store client and provider information so you do not have to re-type the same information each time you bill. If you’d like something more comprehensive, Office Ally offers “Practice Mate,” a complete (and free) web-based practice management and accounting system, which can track sessions and payments, create client statements, and can even schedule appointments. And finally, if you already have your own practice management software which allows you to print claims, Office Ally can transmit your claims electronically. Once your software has created an image of your claims, simply upload these files at the OA website. The OA website will interface with all practice management software packages.
Each claim is checked for errors such as invalid dates or codes. Once you submit a claim you will receive e-mails letting you know the status of the submission, and if it has been accepted or rejected by the plan. You may immediately fix many claim errors right at the website. You can also view a history of your claims submissions.
The phone staff will walk you through the set-up process and your first claim submissions step-by-step. There are no fees for their customer service or tech support, which is available 24/7. I have found them to be very friendly and patient.
The only exceptions to their “no-fee” policy: if you are billing a plan that is not on their list of over 2000 payers, you may choose to have them mail bills for you for just 35 cents per claim (less than the cost of a stamp). Also, there is a $19.95 monthly fee if more than 50% of your claims are Medicare or Medicaid/MediCal.
Why is it free? Like all claims “clearinghouses,” OA is reimbursed by the insurance plans (electronic submissions save the plans money). However, unlike most other clearinghouses, Office Ally elects not to charge the provider.
For complete advice about how to “navigate the insurance maze” – including how to sell yourself to EAPs and insurance companies to fill those empty therapy slots – order Barbara’s book or schedule a personal consultation with Barbara.
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Barbara Griswold, LMFT, is the author of Navigating the Insurance Maze: The Therapist’s Complete Guide to Working with Insurance – And Whether You Should. To purchase the book or other resources for therapists, click here. Contact Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org to get answers to your insurance questions.
Copyright 2008-, Barbara Griswold, LMFT. No part may be reproduced without written permission of the author.