Credit Card On File
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: “I’ve never heard of a doctor’s office having patient credit cards on file. Why are you doing this?”
A: Although this is new to you, you will see it happen at more and more of your doctor’s offices. Insurance reimbursements are declining, patient responsibility amounts are increasing, and the expectation is that we become more efficient in our billing practices. To be able to continue providing the services and care that you deserve, we have to work smarter. You can’t stay at a hotel or rent a car without a credit card on file. Just like those merchants, we too need to be paid for our services.
Q: “I don’t have a credit card.”
A: You are welcome to leave a debit card on file or leave a $100 deposit at each visit. Once your insurance company processes your claim, we will refund the paid and adjusted portions immediately and only keep the amount that the insurance company designated as your responsibility. We understand that there are legitimate reasons that you might not have a credit card (bankruptcy, maxed out limits, declared unworthy of credit). If this is the case, it is not fair for us to extend you credit.
Q: “Why do I have to leave a credit card? I don’t have a deductible or copay and always pay my bills.”
A: This policy is not personal at all. We don’t want to be in the position to judge which patients will have insurance balances and which will not. Instead of discriminating, we apply this policy to our entire patient population. In fact, this policy will save you the time and energy of manually paying your bill!
Q: “What about identity theft, privacy, and security?”
A: We DO NOT store your credit card information on our files, computers, or servers. When your credit card is swiped, much like any other transaction, your information is secured on file on the KEY BANK servers. Your credit card information is not even displayed in full; only the last 4 digits of your credit card number and expiration date is visible in the system. When you hand your credit card over to your server at a restaurant, you have no idea what your server did with your card, but no one thinks twice about doing so.
Q: “Isn’t it illegal to balance bill me after the insurance company pays on my claim?”
A: Balance billing is asking the patient to pay the amount that the insurance company tells the doctor’s office to write-off. That is a breach of our managed care contracts and we have NEVER engaged in this illegal practice! The amount we will be charging to your credit card is ONLY the amount your insurance company designates is your responsibility to pay, after we have subtracted the payment and write-off amounts from the total.
Q: “My insurance co. wants to know if this policy is legal, and so do I. Is it?”
A: Yes. Having a credit card on file system IS LEGAL, just as it is for hotels and car rental companies. It is natural for your insurance company to be concerned about you, but we have every right to collect the patient-owed balances that they themselves designate. In fact, what IS illegal is writing-off balances that the insurance company tells us is your responsibility!
Q: “What if I refuse to participate in your credit card on file program?”
A: Our credit card on file policy is mandatory for all Short Hills Ophthalmology patients. We can no longer afford to practice as we have in the past, and our sincere hope is that our patients understand and accept this. Patients who cannot accept the policies and procedures of any of their doctor’s offices should find more like-minded practices. We feel that the need to institute this policy is as uncomfortable for us as it is for you, but it is necessary.
Q: “Can you tell me what my bill will be ahead of time?”
A: There is no way for us to know what you will owe for your visit. Every patient can have different benefits, regardless of the name of the insurance company. The most important thing you can do as the patient is to call your insurance co. and ask them what YOUR benefits are. They will tell you what your deductible is, how much you’ve met of your deductible, your co-pays, and your coinsurance. They can also tell you if you have a regular vision exam benefit or if you only have medical exam coverage. Knowing your benefits is the surest way to know if you will have a balance after your visit.
Q: “What if there is a problem with my bill and I don’t notice it until after you charge my credit card?”
A: We routinely review the accuracy of claims processed by insurance and will contact you if we find a problem. If you disagree with the way your insurance company designated the amount you owe, you need to contact your insurance company and ask them why they processed the claim that way. We will be happy to help you with any information or documentation you need to appeal with your insurance company. Most insurance representatives will even call our office with you on conference call if you ask them to, so that any and all issues can be resolved for you with both our office and your insurance company simultaneously. If your claim is reprocessed, we will refund any balance due to you immediately