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More Explanation of the Explanation of Benefits (EOB)

A few weeks ago I parsed an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) I received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts after a visit to Sports & Physical Therapy Associates, an excellent physical therapy center with 14 locations in Greater Boston. The post (What does an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) actually explain?) generated a number of comments and questions on the Health Business Blog itself and when it was cross-posted at KevinMD. In particular:

  • What would a cash paying patient be asked to pay?
  • How is the $225 in “charges” derived? Is it determined by Medicare?
  • Does the provider lose money on the Blue Cross contracted rate?

I’m not a billing expert so I sent an email to Sports & PT to ask them to respond directly. I was impressed with their informative and thorough response, which I am posting here with their permission.

Mr. Williams,

We would be happy to provide you with some insight into how insurance claims are processed.  Please find your questions with the corresponding answers below.

When a patient first comes to our clinics, we provide them our Policy Disclosure document.  I think you will find it valuable in understanding the relationship between patient and provider, patient and insurance carrier, and lastly, provider and insurance carrier.  Here is the first paragraph:

“Sports and Physical Therapy Associates (SPTA) is pleased to participate in your health care and we look forward to establishing a lasting relationship as your physical therapy provider. As part of this relationship, we wish to establish our expectations of your financial responsibility as outlined in our Financial Policy. Letting you know in advance of our Financial Policy allows for a good flow of communication and enables us to better satisfy you. Your medical insurance is a contract between you and your insurance company; we are not a party to that contract. We can often help with providing information about your benefits, but you are primarily responsible for knowing what type of coverage you have and for any charges that you have incurred as a patient with us. Please review and sign the following Financial Policy prior to your first visit.”

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