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MDLaw
MDLaw, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 6133
Experience:  Experience in business law, contract law and related matters.
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I have used you recently and you are amazing. I have a new

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I have used you recently and you are amazing. I have a new question.

in our medical practice we have a difficult time collecting deductibles. Is it possible to run a credit card and place a hold at the time of service. Like they do at hotels or car rentals. What do I need to do legally to be able to do that.
Hello and thank you for requesting me!

When you say that you have a difficult time collecting deductibles, you mean to say that you are having a hard time collecting payment, correct? What would the hold be for? A hold until when and for how much?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

a hold of 150 or 200 dollars until the insurance has paid (or been declined) and to cover any portion owed by the patient.


 


the reason deductibles are a particular issue is because we often can not verify if a patient has already met his deductible for the year at the time of service. If he hasn't then 1st we bill the carrier, they tell us the bill is the patients responsibility, so we bill the patient and they are not paying.


 


If we had a hold and the patient owed us $100, we could just collect that money from the credit card.

Thank you for the additional information. What you are asking about is a pre-authorization hold. You would need to contact your credit card processor to find out what their operating guidelines are for such holds. Typically, they are used for when the amount of the service is unknown. In your case, you do know what services they are being charged for. Your problem is with not knowing how much their insurance will cover, if they have insurance. In such a case, the credit card merchant will most likely not allow such a hold. You would have to do what every other provider does and that is to bill the patient/client for any amount not covered by insurance and send it to collections if the bill is not paid. It's part of the cost of doing business. Ultimately, however, it is the credit card processor and Visa and Mastercard that determine whether or not to allow holds. Also, the holds are only allowed for a certain time. In the case of a hotel, for example, you have a set period of time, i.e. when the guest leaves. In the case of a medical provider, they are in and out and so there would be no basis for putting a hold for days. That is why my guess is that the credit card bank would not allow this.

Also, keep in mind that consumer laws require that you notify customers/clients about any fees and so, if you were to do this, you would need to notify them upfront. This might detract people from using your clinic if they have insurance with only a 20 dollar deductible, for example, and then they come in and you tell them they are going to take out 100 from their account no matter what, until you can verify things with their insurance company.

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