Getting paid feels good.
Losing bills, spending too much time creating them, having trouble keeping track of who’s paid what, these things are significantly less swaggy.
This is where software comes in. If you’re still billing on paper you need to get with the times.
But how much is medical billing software going to cost? The biggest difference in cost is between cloud-based and self-hosted software.
Cloud software is billed by the month, and pricing is generally transparent. You’ll generally be charged according to how many users you have. Sometimes you’ll get a discount for additional users. In addition some vendors will charge for every invoice and/or appointment reminder. Kareo charges a percentage of collections, 4-9%, depending on your volume.
Pricing for installed software is opaque.
This is somewhat unavoidable, as many factors will influence how much setup is required. However, it’s harder to justify vendors’ unwillingness to offer even a range without offering lots of information on your practice, or watching a lengthy demo. According to Medical Billing Guide, “More expensive, expansive, and all-inclusive practice management packages, complete with electronic health records and full claims processing capability, can cost as much as $50,000 or more.”
If you have a massive practice, it may be cost-effective to use installed software. But for smaller practices, the clear winner is cloud. Installing, hosting, implementing, maintaining, and updating installed software is no joke.
The Kareo blog has a breakdown of costs so self-hosting medical billing software. It’s from 2011 so the prices for most everything have come down. But it’s a good list of what you’ll need.
- Computer server – Kareo has the price range at $3,500 to $5,000. You can get a server for $500 now, but depending on the size of your practice that might not meet your needs.
- Ethernet switch/wires – Prices for ethernet switches have come down from $250 to $50.
- Backup hard drive – Kareo lists $500 to $750. In 2011 a 1 TB hard drive on Amazon was $135. Today, one can be had for $55.
While hardware is much cheaper today, labor isn’t.
- Software training – This is likely still $1,000 to $3,000.
- Software license – It’s unlikely this has come down significantly from $1,500 to $3,500 per user.
- Software upgrade — $1,500 to $3,500 annually
- Information technology (IT) support — $200/hour
Even though costs have come down, if you can avoid them, that’s an easier life.
Alright, enough fooling around. You want numbers. How much can you expect to pay?
I looked at ten options, and found the cheapest monthly per-user price to be intake.io Insurance Verification, which chargest $59 per month, per user. Perhaps not surprisingly, it does not offer some basic features its competitors do, such as accounts receivable, billing estimates, claim scrubbing, claims management, statements and collections, and code & charge entry. Interestingly, none of the vendors I looked at offer accounting integration. It also does not offer mobile access and 24-hour support, but that’s common.
On the most expensive end comes PrognoCIS, which charges $250 per month, per user. Unlike intake.io Insurance Verification it offers mobile access, accounts receivable, claims management, patient payment history, and statements and collections. Interestingly, Kareo has the exact same feature set but an entirely different pricing model.
Medical billing software should definitely pay for itself in saved time and additional collected fees. The trick is to know what you need and shop around. What other pricing models have you seen for medical billing software? Let us know in the comments.