Float: A New Way to Help Clients Afford Therapy
By Barbara Griswold, LMFT (May 15, 2023)
Looking for new ways to assist out-of-network insurance clients who can’t afford to pay you in full up front? A new service called Float appeared on the landscape last year.
In an interview, founder Chris Mitchell shared how he saw a need for innovation to simplify the client payment experience after his own personal experience in care. He resolved to use his financial services background to make therapy more affordable. He soon brought partner Alison Schenck aboard, a natural fit with her expertise in mental health practice management and medical billing.
I’ve written in my blog about Reimbursify, an app which eases the pain of out-of-network billing by helping clients get reimbursed more quickly, and makes for easy submission of superbills (see article here). In the future, I will tell you about other options called Mentaya and Superbill’s Superpay which go a step further. However, with each of these options, clients still must pay in full at the time of the session, which can be a barrier to treatment.
Float is different. Float pays the therapist in full for the session, and the client only pays Float their out-of-network coinsurance and any deductibles. Float then deals with the insurance claim filing, and the financial risk of not getting reimbursed. Let me say that again: Float ensures you are paid in full for the session — even if insurance doesn’t pay. And you and your clients don’t have to deal with claims or superbills.
How it works:
- You sign up to work with Float for free. Float enrolls with insurance plans to receive insurance payments. Your clinician account is set up (like a Venmo account), so Float can pay you
- Your clients with out-of-network coverage set up their own Float accounts and connect payment options
- After a session, Float pays you in full, usually within 2 days, and collects your client’s portion from the client, charging your client a small claim filing fee (between $3-$18 per session, depending on the reimbursement amount)
- Float files the insurance claim to seek reimbursement
An example? Let’s say your fee is $200, and your client’s out-of-network coverage is 70%, so she could get $140 reimbursement. Float would pay the therapist $200, the client would pay Float only $60 (their 30% coinsurance) + $10 to cover Float fees, and Float would seek insurance reimbursement for the remaining 70% ($140).
More good news: Float is available to clinicians in every state. They claim to be HIPAA-Compliant, and will give Business Associate Agreements (BAA).
The fine print: Mitchell admits that since they are new, they don’t yet work with all plans, but do work with Aetna, CIGNA, United Healthcare/OPTUM, and the majority of Blue Cross plans.
Final thoughts: Acting as a kind of intermediary between therapists, clients, and insurance plans is definitely new. I give them the award for innovation, which is sorely needed in our broken insurance system. Mitchell says “we believe we are the only organization to offer this type of service.” And while they currently offer this service only for out-of-network clients, they are hoping to expand and offer it for in-network clients later this year. For more info about Float, visit their website or contact them.
Disclaimer: Inclusion of a product or service in my newsletter does not imply vetting or recommendation