It is customary to pay fees for medical service after the appointment is concluded and just before you leave the building. Those fees include the normal, usual and expected fees of medical consultations, office visits and any minor surgical procedures you may have had in the office. We feel this practice actually helps lower your medical costs by better containing our overhead. Otherwise, if we were to bill our patients, our fees would then have to include more bookkeeping and record keeping costs and perhaps another colleague to two to do the work. But you don’t have to pay a fee after every office visit. In the practice of reconstructive surgery, the usual, normal procedure is to include at no cost to you any postoperative visits for about three months. Likewise, the fees you pay for cosmetic procedures will include your after procedure visits up to six months for the same condition.
Of course, as a courtesy, we will help with insurance billing if your treatment or procedure is covered by a health insurance policy. However, please keep in mind the patient’s insurance policy is a contract between the patient and his or her company with a set of rules and regulations, over which we know nothing and have no control. So, again, the patient is personally responsible for all incurred expenses even when the insurance company does not cover the procedure or visit. We’ve found health insurance companies can be difficult and are often set against reimbursing charges for most procedures performed by plastic and cosmetic surgeons, even if it seems like a reasonable charge related to health and not just cosmetic. In many cases, we have found that waiting or petitioning for coverage by an insurance company often results in cancellation of the policy. In any event, the struggle for coverage will certainly delay surgery for weeks or perhaps months.
In the event the surgery is authorized for coverage by an insurance company, the patient will be required to make a partial payment on the bill before the procedure can go forward. The remainder of any payment due must be paid in full two weeks before any cosmetic procedures can be performed. And, unless a specific written arrangement has been signed by you and the office manager, the payment must be made within 60 days for operations that are covered by insurance, regardless of the amount the insurance company pays.