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Your Practice's Policies on SSNs?

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  • Your Practice's Policies on SSNs?

    Honest question from a non-physician that mostly just lurks around here.

    How many of your practices have policies that require a patient to either provide a SSN or a cash deposit before seeing that patient? Or no SSN, no visit?  I encountered this (with the cash deposit option) when making an appointment today and was a bit appalled. The doctor's office can call and confirm insurance coverage the day of the visit and collect copay upfront. Why the additional requirement for either cash or a SSN? Quite honestly, it feels like a slap in the face to this victim of identity theft (whose information was most likely stolen from a previous medical provider).

    Is this becoming the new standard? It was annoying enough when offices started transitioning from requiring co-pay when you leave to requiring it before you even go in to see anyone. But requiring a freaking deposit or the disclosure of personal information the office DOES NOT NEED to file an insurance claim? Is the financial relationship between patient and doctor really deteriorating to a level where this is necessary?

  • #2
    I haven't heard of a Social, but I have heard of a credit card on file to bill. Lots of practices are going all cash these days though.
    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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    • #3




      Honest question from a non-physician that mostly just lurks around here.

      How many of your practices have policies that require a patient to either provide a SSN or a cash deposit before seeing that patient? Or no SSN, no visit?  I encountered this (with the cash deposit option) when making an appointment today and was a bit appalled. The doctor’s office can call and confirm insurance coverage the day of the visit and collect copay upfront. Why the additional requirement for either cash or a SSN? Quite honestly, it feels like a slap in the face to this victim of identity theft (whose information was most likely stolen from a previous medical provider).

      Is this becoming the new standard? It was annoying enough when offices started transitioning from requiring co-pay when you leave to requiring it before you even go in to see anyone. But requiring a freaking deposit or the disclosure of personal information the office DOES NOT NEED to file an insurance claim? Is the financial relationship between patient and doctor really deteriorating to a level where this is necessary?
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      This is becoming more common. My wife's MFM doc is so busy that yes, we would either have to provide a SSN or credit card deposit at time of making an appointment. Copays were also collected upfront before we were allowed to go back to see the doctor.

      I'm a physician myself. Our office doesn't have those policies. You would be surprised at how much money we lose because we don't install the aforementioned policies. Patients no longer have to provide SSNs, credit card bills are routinely unpaid, and as we don't collect copays/payments until AFTER the visit, numerous patients take the opportunity to just bolt and run. We actually had to reconfigure our offices / workflow / patient flow so that it would be harder to leave (e.g. employing casino techniques to keep people in)

       

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      • #4
        Personally, I always leave SSN field blank on forms. I tell my wife to, too. Nobody's ever balked at it. If they did, I might find myself a new provider. The only reason they may need it is for collections, and I don't trust their data security.

        Kinda on topic: I'd encourage anyone to freeze your credit. It's not hard and it provides better ID theft protection than just about anything else you could do.

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