Last week, we discussed what options may be available to you if an insurance panel is closed. You can submit an appeal to be admitted to a panel anyway -- an effective strategy if you have a specialty that other in-network dietitians don’t have, or if your practice location is more than 30 miles away from any other qualified dietitian’s practice. You can also file out-of-network claims, which some companies do reimburse for.
Another alternative is to bide your time, contract with other insurance companies, and keep an eye on the closed panel(s) in question. Your patience can definitely pay off as panels do, in fact, open up. As preventive care becomes more widely-covered by insurance companies, look for more and more panels to begin contracting dietitians.
We’ve been calling insurance companies regularly to find out the status of panels, and have some good news across several states!
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois will be reimbursing dietitians as in-network providers beginning January 2018.
- Humana is also beginning to credential dietitians to become in-network providers in some counties across the state.
- Cigna is accepting new dietitians in some counties to become in-network providers.
- Aetna is also allowing the credentialing process to begin for new dietitians.
- Aetna panels are opening up in Texas as well.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but these are all panels that have opened just since June. It goes to show that change does happen and that it’s worth monitoring companies you’re interested in so you know as soon as a panel status changes. Companies generally recommend that you check on a panel’s status after three to six months, and we would encourage you to err on the shorter time frame.
The panels listed above are also with major networks. If you are in Illinois, Ohio, or Texas, becoming contracted with just one of those panels could lead to significant growth in the number of patients you see.