Medical provider portals are becoming more and more popular but did you know you may be charged for your doctor's email replies?
The pandemic brought a surge of online communications between clinicians and patients and post pandemic continues to be a growing communication tool. In addition, many don't live close and/or are unable to easily see a doctor in person. However, patient messages can overwhelm doctors' in boxes. Even after the pandemic, doctors are receiving over 50% more emails.
One response is to charge email response fees. The U.S. Centers for Medical and Medicaid Services billing codes allow medical providers to seek reimbursement for writing responses to patient inquiries that require at least five minutes of time. Private insurances typically follow Medicare's lead so many of us can potentially be charged these additional fees. And it's not just your private practice doctor as nearly a dozen of the nation’s largest hospital systems said they charged fees for some of their providers’ emails to patients or have started pilot programs, in response to an informal survey by The New York Times.
However, billing for email response fees can be complex and time consuming and doctors don't necessarily want to alienate their patients. Time will tell if billing for email responses becomes a mainstay or not. Regardless, GO Medical encourages you to be vigilant and check your billing statements for any unexpectant fees.