Units: A Cheat Sheet for You!

Many of you understand billing increments like the back of your hand. But for those of you who are just getting started, we compiled a cheat sheet to help. You often ask us how to bill if you’re with a client for 19 minutes or 38 minutes, for example – do you know how many units this would be? 

Billing insurance companies is done via units of time. In general, one unit is equal to 15 minutes of face time with a client. Two units would be 30 minutes, and so on. The unit time frames follow for sessions that may not last for 15 minutes or 30 minutes on the dot. Check below to see how you would bill for the 19-minute (one unit) or 38-minute session (3 units)! 

Unit Time Frames

  • A 1 unit session ranges around 9 minutes to 22 minutes
  • A 2 unit session ranges from 23 minutes to 37 minutes
  • A 3 unit session ranges from 38 minutes to 53 minutes
  • A 4 unit session ranges from 53 minutes to 68 minutes

Units are a way for providers to decide their fees for sessions that may not be exactly 60 minutes long. For example, if you charge $50 per unit, you can easily calculate how much a 3-unit session would cost vs a 5-minute session. 

Remember, too, that you are not able to bill for time spent preparing for your client visit, nor for time spent following up with your client when reporting total units to the insurance company. Calculation of unit time is solely for one-on-one time spent with your client. 

Our comprehensive guide, Insurance Reimbursement: The Healthy Bytes Way, is a great resource for getting comfortable with accepting insurance. You can also find an explanation of claims filing in the Academy's RDN's Complete Guide to Credentialing and Billing: The Private Payer Market, available online and free for Academy members. The team here at Healthy Bytes is here to help answer any and all of your billing and reimbursement questions! 

What questions do you have about billing increments?