For Providers

On Courtesy Billing and How to Make a Superbill for Therapy Clients

Some thoughts on how to streamline courtesy billing, plus a free sample superbill for therapy.

What is Courtesy Billing and Why Does It Matter?

Courtesy billing is when a client pays the full cost for their care upfront, and you, the therapist, file a claim on the client’s behalf for their reimbursement.  This service is offered as a courtesy, so that the client doesn’t have to be burdened with the paperwork. 

It’s especially important in therapy because of the circumstances in which you see clients. If a client is visiting you to work through feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, it feels wrong to add the stress of filling out forms and negotiating with insurers to their plate. 

But we know you’re busy too! Courtesy billing piles more work on already-strained mental health providers, which feels just as wrong. That’s why we made this post—to share ideas for streamlining the process. Hopefully, we can find a solution that works for both parties. We’ll also go over a simple practice superbill for therapy services, so you’ll have a visual resource to help you make them. 

Therapy Superbills Are Often Lost

We know it’s happened to you before: a new client walks into your office and asks that infamous question, “Do you take my insurance?” Every healthcare provider in the world has heard this question. As a therapist, you might not accept insurance at all, or you might accept it but be out of the client’s network. Either way, there’s a decent chance the client’s insurer offers out-of-network benefits. Time to make a superbill. 

Creating a superbill grants the client access to their OON benefits. In this case, you collect your fee there in the office and provide the client with a superbill to submit to their insurer for reimbursement. All good, right? But here’s the issue. Clients don’t always submit superbills… We conducted a poll of providers already working with SuperBill, and they told us that less than half of their clients actually submit superbills for insurance reimbursements after receiving them from their provider! 

The physicians polled cited hesitance about dealing with insurers and difficulty understanding OON benefits as the main reasons clients don’t submit. To make things worse, many insurance companies will reject an out-of-network claim on sight, in the hopes that the filer will get disheartened and give up on the claim. And sadly enough, most do. According to The Journal of Ahima, up to 60% of returned claims are never refiled

Statistically speaking, your client has a better chance of reimbursement if you file their superbill for them. It might not be ideal for you, but it helps your client, and we know that’s why you became a mental health provider in the first place. Creating, filling out, and filing a superbill for your client is the definition of client-centered therapy. But, it takes a lot of time, time that you probably don’t have in your busy life as a therapist, especially when you account for the high number of OON claims rejected by insurers. 

It’s a Courtesy, But It’s Also a Chore

Courtesy billing is a wonderful offering, and it clearly saves clients money on the whole. However, it’s a big task that requires a lot of manual effort on the therapist’s behalf. We’ve outlined a few of the administrative steps required to handle superbills for clients below.

  1. Collect Client’s Insurance Information
  2. Verify Mental Health Eligibility and Insurance Benefits
  3. Verify Claims Submission Requirements 
  4. Follow up with Pending Claims
  5. Handle Rejections, Denials, Appeals, & Submit Corrected Claims

When you factor in the high rate of rejection for psychotherapy insurance claims, courtesy billing can end up being an extremely tiresome process, one that's a lot more involved than a simple courtesy, in many cases. To make things worse, all of this extra work often goes unrecognized. Clients generally don’t know about all the work you do behind the scenes to get them reimbursed. You simply do it on their behalf. 

At SuperBill, we understand and appreciate the work you do to navigate your clients’ insurance reimbursements. All we wish is that you didn’t have to do it. That’s where we come in. SuperBill can handle every aspect of your courtesy billing, from creating a superbill to filing it—we’ll even follow up with insurance companies after claims are rejected to refile them, ensuring your clients get the highest reimbursement possible. 

If you want to work with us, read our post on Getting Started with Superbill or click the Get Started button to start saving time and effort today. If you’d like a visual walkthrough of how to create therapy superbills, just keep reading.

Therapy Superbill Example

Practice Superbill for Therapy

For a more in-depth explanation of the various parts of a superbill you can check out our introductory article on superbills. Here, we’ll just note the common CPT codes for therapy in 2022. These are probably the only CPT codes you need.

Common CPT Codes for Therapy

How to Submit Superbills to Insurance 

After you’ve filled out the superbill with your client’s personal information, the details of the service, CPT codes, etc., you’ll need to send it to the client’s insurer along with a copy of your client’s EOB. Then, you’ll wait for the insurer to process the claim, something that usually takes around 30 days but may take up to 90. Then, once you receive the claim, you have the option of correcting any rejected parts and refiling it, ad infinitum...

Therapists and Superbills Are Our Bread and Butter

Alright, you get the picture. We don’t need to pile it on. In fact, we want to make the pile disappear. We want to take the whole stack of superbills and EOBs off your plate and handle them for you, so you can spend your time and energy doing what you do best: treating your clients.

SuperBill began as a company working exclusively with therapists. We’ve since branched out, but we still feel most at home filing therapy superbills. If you’d like to learn more, reach out for a 1 on 1 chat or click the Get Started button and let us free up your schedule today.

To learn more about how to join and start uploading superbills, check out our post on Getting Started with SuperBill. If your office would like a refresher on medical coding best practices, we also have a post on CPT and ICD-10 Coding Tips.

How SuperBill Helps You Retain Patients
How SuperBill Helps You Acquire New Patients
Getting Started with SuperBill (As a Provider)
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This post was written and researched by
Harry Gatlin

Harry (he/him/his) is a freelance writer and web designer who has worked in the health and tech spaces for over 2 years now. He is passionate about the power of language to make complex systems like health insurance simpler and fairer. He received his BA in English Literature from Williams College and his MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Alabama. In his spare time, he writes fiction and obsesses over Bob Dylan. You can reach him at harrison.gatlin@thesuperbill.com.