Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
There are rumors everywhere in the float industry about float centers billing insurance for floats and how they pulled it off. This podcast is no exception!
Listen to Graham and Ashkahn opine on the hypothetical and the barely confirmed tales they’ve heard about the possibility of float centers getting that sweet sweet insurance payout, and then listen to the guys talk about the realities of accepting insurance and how it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
If you’d like to sign up to ask a question on our two hour call in show, November 29th at 3pm PST, go to floattanksolutions.com/dsplive.
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: Alright, welcome.
Ashkahn: Welcome, everybody.
Ashkahn: My name’s Ashkahn
Graham: I’m Graham, and we got somethin’ to tell you.
Ashkahn: Yeah. You’re listening to our podcast.
Graham: For one of the last daily release times.
Ashkahn: That’s right.
Graham: Will come out, yeah.
Ashkahn: Yeah. So we’re pullin’ the train into the station here. Tying our horse to that post and just kind uh feedin’ the dog the bone.
Graham: Yeah. We have a whole episode we did recently talking about us winding down the podcast, but our final broadcast is going to be-
Ashkahn: Podcast broadcast. The final podcast broadcast. It was going to be on-
Graham & Ashkahn: November
Graham: 29th. It’s gonna … yeah, it’s gonna be awesome.
Ashkahn: It’s gonna be three o’ clock PT. It’s gonna go ’til five o’ clock PT.
Graham: That’s paid time, for those of you that don’t know. If you’re living on free time it’s gonna be slightly different, but-
Graham: -or borrowed time as well.
Ashkahn: So come hang out with us, you can ask us questions. We’ll answer them I mean-
Graham: Yeah. You can answer questions people can ask you questions too.
Ashkahn: Yeah, we would ask you questions you can ask some other person who’s calling in questions and we’ll just sit back and listen to you guys have a conversation.
Graham: It’ll be really fun though. Join us November 29th 3-5 p.m.
Graham: Yep. Be there be Epsom salt.
Alright, in … in the meantime do have a question-
Ashkahn: Yeah. Yeah.
Graham: -today, as well. Which I was going to read out loud if you don’t have any objections over there.
Ashkahn: And we’re gonna answer it so hard.
Graham: What’chyou sayin’?
Ashkahn: I said “We’re gonna answer it so hard.”
Graham: Oh yeah no, we’re totally gonna answer it hard, yeah.
Do you know … this is the question by the way.
Ashkahn: Yeah okay.
Graham: “Do you know of anyone who’s successfully accepted insurance as payment? If so, how?”
So sort of.-
Graham: Is the answer.
Graham: There are some people who have gotten insurance money for their customers floating.
Ashkahn: And there’s lots of kind a’ types of insurance or ways to get money from insurance.
Graham: Yeah, scams for example.
Ashkahn: Yeah. That one has the highest success rate so far.
Graham: Yep, and the longest average time spent in jail as a result.
Ashkahn: So let’s talk about the United States, for a second.
Graham: Yeah, the place that we live and know the most about.
Ashkahn: Yeah. Yep, a good place to start.
Ashkahn: So I don’t know of anywhere, I don’t know of a float center that’s really a dedicated float center that is billing insurance directly. Like people are coming in, they’re handing this float center their insurance card, the insurance card is charging them a copay or something, and then sending off some sort of bill to their insurance company and their insurance company is paying them.
Graham: Yeah. Nor is there an insurance code for floating. You know generally the closest people come is hydrotherapy, is the code that they end up putting down as some sort of insurance category.
Graham: Right. So it’s not like our government has set up a code for float tanks. They recognize it as something covered by insurance, you can just bill insurance for it, that level of getting it covered by insurance is not there. As it would be for even even massage has-
Ashkahn: Right. Has things like that.
Ashkahn: So that’s the most extreme when I think of people thinking “Are there float centers taking insurance” that’s the most common image, I feel, people are thinking of.
Graham: In that sense.
Ashkahn: Kind of one end of the spectrum and I don’t personally know of a place in the U.S. where that’s happening.
Graham: Yeah, so in that sense no.
Ashkahn: So yeah, unless someone out there is freakin’ rockin’ it.
Graham: In which case let us know, like let the world know.-
Ashkahn: Oh yeah, for sure.
Graham: We’ll give you the microphone, you can tell everyone-
Ashkahn: Keep it.
Graham: -all about it. Yeah, you can keep microphone, that’s awesome news. Yeah, we need a new one.
Ashkahn: We only need it for a couple more weeks.
But so then one level back from that is we do know people who’re successfully-
Graham: Scamming. So sorry what were you gonna say?
Ashkahn: Legally billing insurance companies, because they have some other thing that they’re offering, therapy or some other actual thing that is itself being billed by insurance and they kind of wrap floating into that. Like floating is part of some sort of treatment that they are offering and that treatment is something they are able to bill insurance for and floating is kind of getting swept along with it.
Graham: So for instance we know people who have two way intercoms inside the float tank and they are licensed psychologists, and when a customer comes in they are actually having a therapy session in the float tank. So the person is getting a float, but they’re billing their code for therapy.
Ashkahn: So that’s like one level down now and that is happening, but still pretty rarely.
Graham: And unless you are a licensed professional who is able to bill insurance under some other practice you’re doing then it’s not really an option- right, you can’t-
Ashkahn: You can’t just start doing that. Like you can’t just throw a microphone into your float tank and be like “Perfect, let’s get this insurance money.”
Graham: And if you do do that definitely don’t tell people that you heard it here.
Ashkahn: So then there’s the next level down from that, which is that some people have these insurance plans here in the U.S. where they have these-
Graham: It’s like the nine circles of insurance, or something.
Ashkahn: These like … where like flex spending accounts or-
Ashkahn: HSA, whatever that stands for. Health-?
Graham: Health spending account?
Ashkahn: Yeah, something like that, you know. Whatever.
Graham: Sorry if I got that wrong, I’m just making up words that go along with the acronym.
Ashkahn: Homosapien account.
Graham: Spending account, yeah.
Ashkahn: That’s where somewhere a float center is not actually dealing with the insurance company themselves, right. So this is someone coming in-
Graham: So you were using the S in homosapien-
Ashkahn: That is, yeah.
Graham: The sapien was the S.
Ashkahn: That’s what I was gettin’ at.
Graham: Okay, go on. Sorry I just-
Ashkahn: No, it was nice we got that clarified-
Ashkahn: -it was bothering me there.
Graham: It was a better joke too.
Ashkahn: So if you guys have other questions, just go …
Graham: Okay, no. So fflex spending, HSAs.
Ashkahn: So that’s where the float center’s not dealing with the insurance company. The floater’s coming in, they’re paying for the float, and then that person … the person who got the float, the customer goes to their insurance and says “Hey, I wanna use part of my-
Ashkahn: -FSA slash HSA, which one I have to pay for this” and they get reimbursed by the insurance company, maybe.
Graham: Yeah, and … and that … what I’ve heard of people getting denied for that and I’ve heard of it getting accepted too so
Ashkahn: And we’ve had people get accepted with that at our place, and we’ve also had people get references over the float. Like a chiropractor will write, actually, a reference for one of their patients to come float and that floater will then take that reference and then send it along with their request to be reimbursed, and that’s like helped them be reimbursed.
Graham: Yeah, so I mean that’s a really legit option and I don’t I mean it doesn’t seem, from the outside, like there’s a system that will just make it so you can get your float accepted. And we say this for a lot of things, but it almost depends on the other person who’s on the other end of that email or letter that you’re sending, and what they ate for lunch and like how angry they are at their kids that day, and it seems like it’s a part of review process almost and someone is getting these appeals and then judging whether or not they’ll actually be valid for distributing funds. So again it’s not surefire, but I mean without knowing any kind of stats on it I’m just gonna say it seems like 50/50 here, you know, from the outside.
Ashkahn: And like there’s a pretty big difference from the float center owner’s perspective, between that and the level above it, right?
Graham: Yeah. Yeah yeah yeah.
Ashkahn: ‘Cause then once, like, when we’re doing that we’re not really doing anything. We’re just kind of like “The person’s coming, they’re paying us, we have the money,” and then we’re just like “Good luck,” you know “Hope this works out for you” and then the other end of the spectrum, like, you’re billing insurance as a company which I’m sure is insanely complicated and has all sorts of crazy stuff you have to figure out. To the point that, you now, when this topic has come up in different industry meetings or, you know, there’s like the Rise float gathering. Couple years ago this whole topic came up and it got a pretty big discussion because there’s people in the float industry who’ve done this before, who’ve lived this world-
Graham: Being chiropractors and-
Ashkahn: -Yeah, something, and have billed insurance and say that it’s horrible, and like we’re basically being like we don’t wanna like “Do not think this is gonna magically, like, make all our lives easier” like, there is a whole world of pain that comes with being a company that bills insurance.
Graham: Yeah or being an industry, in general, that bills insurance, I guess.
Even if you don’t now you’re competing with people who do offer lower rates for people who have insurance and-
Ashkahn: Which I guess makes sense. Insurance seems extremely complicated and –
Graham: Yeah, yeah, makes sense
Ashkahn: -like rife with all sorts of insanities there.
Graham: And I don’t feel like I know enough to have an opinion on that, like whether or not our industry should be insured. Like I know just enough to know that it’s not as easy as saying “Oh absolutely. Why wouldn’t we?” You know, I know there is another side of the story where yeah things can get messy, now you have overhead you need to spend in actually billing insurance. They want to pay you less then often what your retail price is, so your price per float can drop and-
Ashkahn: Are they determined prices after the fact that you’ve already collected some amount from people or-
Graham: All kinds of confusion and complications.
Ashkahn: Yeah, I mean I … we have health insurance and I’ve been very angry at them, personally, being like “I know, but what you’re saying doesn’t make any sense,” like … so I understand how this can be complicated and frustrating.
Graham & Ashkahn: So.
Ashkahn: So then there’s some I guess there’s some stuff to bring up outside the U.S.
Ashkahn: Which is that still I don’t actually know of anywhere that float centers are billing insurance, as like primarily float businesses, directly billing for floating.
Graham: Yeah, I’ve just heard little, like, rumors, here and there, and I haven’t verified any of them, you know. Like just recently someone was saying that Ottawa, up in Canada, was able to bill more directly for insurance, but again this is unverified. I’m not even saying that, I’m saying this as a rumor, right here. Like I’m the rumor mill right now.
Ashkahn: Yeah, so tell it to enough people and maybe it will just start happening in Ottawa.
Graham: But honestly though, if you are a center in another country and you are actively able to just bill insurance, you’re not collecting any money from your customers, you’re just getting money from the insurance company write in and let us know how that’s working, and if you actually have a designated code it would be really interesting to get an international perspective on how it’s going from someone who’s actually working with the system.
Ashkahn: For sure. Well we do know, so other countries have these things called, you know, national government provided healthcare, which is-
Graham: Sensible morals.
Ashkahn: Yeah, that’s not a thing we experience here in the United States, but in other countries if you’re trying to like do this play this game of getting floating covered by insurance you’re like “Wow, we have one goal, which is to get the national health insurance to accept floating.” Where as here in the U.S. it’s like,who even knows what the product is. Like, you have to convince giant insurance companies and they, hopefully, will convince other insurance companies to also cover floating and-
Graham: Yeah getting a code delineated in the first place. Yeah yeah.
Ashkahn: Yeah. So there’s a little bit more of a kind of direct, you know, path towards achieving this, and what we saw was some years ago Sweden had really set up like a plan to make this happen. So they had a float association that formed and that association’s, kind of, primary goal was to get floating covered by health insurance, the national health insurance there, and, you know, to them there was very clear steps to take to accomplish that, which was generating research to be able to have empirical data to support floating. That was like step one, which is why we see a bunch of Swedish float research that came out, you know, some years ago and it is continuing to come out. Step two was to establish a, kind of, certified training program for float center operators and from there, I think, once they had those things established they could approach the government and work on getting an actually approved.
Graham: And then dot dot dot profit, you know?
Ashkahn: Yeah. Done. People in hammocks, sitting on the beach, but unfortunately things kind of fell apart a little bit there, not really because the government, like, refused to accept this as something that could be covered by insurance, but just kind of the association hit whatever something happened-
Graham: Something blocked … yeah yeah
Ashkahn: -that kind of fell apart and I don’t think it’s really active anymore and it got all the to they point of, basically, forming this certification program, like putting the training together and building an online course, but last I checked, which was a couple years ago, it didn’t go any further than that. And kind of the same thing in Canada, I don’t think Canada got quite as far, but, you know, the float collective started as a group up there, in Canada, with one of their main goals to get floating covered by Canadian health insurance. And same thing it was, you know, when they were in they were even first talking about it they were like “Oh this is like a ten year project to like be able to do all this,” and the scope of work to do something like that is probably a little bit bigger then where we’re at as an industry right now is my guess, a big factor.
Graham: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So thems the sticks for right now, you know. I will say that research continues to be funded and keeps being furthered this is showing actually benefit for clinical populations for people suffering with chronic anxiety with, you know, any manner of physical ailments and those are actually being research as well is a really good sign for it leading towards that path-
Ashkahn: Oh for sure.
Graham: -being able to be covered by insurance more and even with the flex spending accounts and submitting, like the more research there is out there that’s peer reviewed and with this new NIH grant coming out of Justin Feinstein’s lab the more funded government research, essentially, that’s coming out will be really cool to be able to send in as, kind of, proof that yes, you should just send me back a reimbursement at the very least, you know?
Ashkahn: Yeah, that definitely feels like a big step in the process.
Graham: So that’s what we know.
Ashkahn: We’ll see, we’ll see what happens.
Graham: See what happens.
Yeah, and if you have your own questions, which there’s only a few left so really if you have your own questions go and submit them soon.
Talk to you tomorrow.
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