Medicare has certain rules and regulations in place to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. Here’s one you may not have heard of – the 8-minute rule. Providers must treat patients for at least eight minutes to receive Medicare reimbursement.
With this rule, patients can be assured that doctors aren’t rushing to get to the next patient. They can feel that their Medicare is paying for quality service. The rule is a great way to reassure your clients that they will be cared for with Medicare.
While eight minutes doesn’t seem like a long amount of time, think about how you usually spend your time in a doctor’s office. Most of it is probably spent in the waiting room – then you’re whisked away to a room where you sit and wait by yourself for ten minutes, then a nurse comes in and checks your vitals, then it’s another ten minutes of waiting before the doctor can come in and tell you that you have a cold.
If a doctor actually spends eight minutes with you, they can truly observe everything – your weight, your skin, your symptoms if you have any – not just what you ask him to look at.
Seniors and Medicare eligibles tend to spend more time in doctor’s offices as they tend to have more concerns. More often than not, they are sitting in a patient room for much longer than eight minutes. However, some treatments or tests may only take a few minutes to perform. If a doctor spends only three minutes performing a test or service, Medicare will not pay for that treatment.
As an insurance agent, it’s not your job to track the eight-minute rule – that’s up to the providers. All you can do is assure your clients that their doctors have to comply with the eight-minute rule.