#8 How is billing handled? If private insurance will pay for some of the costs, will the agency bill them directly?
Billing is one of the first questions people ask about when I talk with someone about having a caregiver take care of their loved one. This makes sense as we all live on tight budgets these days and no one wants to overpay for anything. First of all, let me say that having a caregiver is not cheap. And that is a good thing. You really do not want to go to the "lowest bidder" so to speak when you are looking at your health care providers. With that in mind, you don't want to just spend money with the idea that the most expensive provider must be the best. Sound confusing?
Well it doesn't have to be. You definitely want to ask the right questions. "How much do you charge for your services?" is actually not the right question. The reason for this is simply that most home care agencies are all within a dollar or two per hour of each other. What you do want to find out is how the company handles billing. You want a home care agency that is willing to bill on a regular schedule so you can keep up to date on charges. Weekly billing may seem daunting, but it allows you to monitor the charges at a frequent enough rate so the bill doesn't skyrocket before you realize how much you have spent. You also want a company that is willing to give a little by doing things like waive the deposit when you pay by credit card. Additionally, you do not want to be charged for things like a set up fee, supervision of caregivers or assessment fees. You should only ever be charged for the time a caregiver spends with your loved one and nothing else.
If you are lucky enough to have an insurance policy that covers home care services, you definitely want a company that will bill the insurance directly. At Synergy, we will also handle making sure the insurance company gets all of the proper documentation so you have the greatest chance of having the charges approved.
Having an agency and case manager who you can work with and know that they are going to be there for you and do everything they can for you is often times much more valuable that the price difference between two competing price quotes.