Understanding the realm of health care insurance and reimbursements can be a bit tricky—but learning how to navigate the process can prove to be beneficial for both your clients and your business.

Understanding the realm of health care insurance and reimbursements can be a bit tricky—but learning how to navigate the process can prove to be beneficial for both your clients and your business.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that contracting with a lien company can allow you to work with clients with personal injuries and increase your income.

Having been in the massage therapy industry for nearly 20 years and running a massage-business consultancy company, I have gained lots of experience in working with insurance, billing, legal professionals and lien companies.

Regardless of where you are in your massage business, either just starting out or as a seasoned professional, it is important to understand all aspects of the business. From learning what works best for client comfort to the details of billing and insurance, nothing should be overlooked. You need your business to run smoothly, with as few bumps in the road to success as possible.

Provide Flexibility to Clients

While massage therapy does provide an element of comfort and relaxation, its main purposes are to complement traditional medical procedures; ease tension, stress and anxiety; and help restore mobility and balance to someone who has been injured by charting a course toward wellness and life without pain.

After being involved in an accident or otherwise injured, the last thing a client wants to deal with is the hassle of trying to figure out how to pay for the medical attention needed; especially because in these types of situations the bill can be pretty hefty. Not only that, massage services needed are usually for an ongoing amount of time based on the severity of the injury. This can lead to a strain on the client’s pockets.

The good thing is you can provide flexibility for your clients by giving them options to help pay for services in their time of need: direct billing, insurance billing or using a lien company are all great ways to ensure your client has a pleasant experience while receiving your services.

While many massage therapists are familiar with direct billing, which is when the bill is paid directly by the client, and insurance billing, which is when the bill is sent to the insurance company your client is covered by, most people do not understand another payment option: using a lien. This is what I want to delve a little deeper into in hopes of giving you a better understanding of how to incorporate this into your practice.

What is a Lien Company?

A lien is when a loan is put against the compensation the client might be awarded once an injury case is completed. As a massage therapist, you can choose to work with a lien company in order to help your clients meet the cost of their care.

Oftentimes, clients may find themselves in a situation where they can’t pay for care out of pocket and their insurance doesn’t cover the type of treatment—such as massage—that is needed. This is where working with a lien company can come in handy. Doing so allows you to be able to work with someone other than the client’s attorney to work out a payment schedule that is suitable for everyone.

I’m convinced that when people hear the words lien or lien company, their guard automatically goes up. Either they have concerns about adding a middleman into the business equation or the word lien has a very negative connotation attached to it, being that it denotes the right to keep possession of property belonging to someone else until a debt owed by the person is paid.

Well, in this instance the lien company helps you as a business owner by guaranteeing payment for the services you provide. This should not be seen as something negative, but as a way to help the customer and you work together to make sure all expenses are covered at the time of services, meaning the client is not worrying about payments and you are not taking on liability when choosing to work with a client—thereby making the middleman, the lien company, the perfect solution to the problem.

Work with a Lien Company

Choosing to become a contractor for a lien company is a step in the right direction for those who want to work with clients who have personal injuries, because it eliminates the risks of having to wait for the client to pay you once the lawsuit is finalized. Further, in some cases if the client doesn’t win the case, then you don’t get paid and your business may end up taking a loss in revenue.

However, when a lien company is involved, it allows you to be paid in a timely and consistent manner, essentially allowing you to take control of your business and payment process while still being able to provide the services needed for the client.

Another benefit is you will have access to more clients in most instances, allowing you to increase business traffic with ease. Think of it as a sort of referral program that puts your business in the line of sight of people who need a way to get the services that a business like yours has to offer.

Putting yourself in a position to reach more clients on a daily basis and being willing to provide them with the services they need immediately is a win-win situation for everyone.

Adding lien-company contracting to your business is also a great way to set yourself apart from the competition and serves as a powerful networking tool. You will then have a way for clients to access your services when they would otherwise have no way of doing so or when others have denied them care because of inability to pay.

By utilizing a lien company, you will be able to provide care when people need it the most. This shows your customers you are willing to go the extra mile to make sure their recovery needs are met and that you have compassion for them on every level.

Excellent customer service is one of the foundations of a thriving business, and it drives people back to their business of choice time and time again, because they know they are going to be treated fairly and with integrity.

Take Stress Off Yourself

When people are in pain and in need of care, as massage therapists by nature, we instinctively want to provide them with the treatment needed. However, the business aspect demands we make sure we are covered for the services rendered and not left with the short end of the stick when it comes time for billing.

Making a profit is an important part of business and needs to be handled responsibly in order for your practice to remain sustainable, as well as provide for your family and provide the services your clients need. When utilizing a lien service, you can set payments to be received at the end of each week, ensuring you get your payments in a timely fashion, which in turns helps you stay on top of your daily, weekly and monthly business expenses.

Making sure you have a variety of payment options available takes a tremendous amount of stress off you as the service provider, as well as off your clients. Learning how to work with a lien company is a great way to enhance your services and complement your income at the same time. If you have been on the fence about utilizing a lien company or not, take my advice and give it a chance.

How to Choose a Lien Company

Having a balance of back-office procedures and streamlining business details allows you, the massage therapist, to focus on what matters most: the recovery process of the people you serve.

If you are interested in becoming a provider for a lien company, the best approach to take is to start by doing your research.

Try calling law firms or pain-management doctors and asking them which lien company they work with. (I like Marrick Medical because of the great customer service, easy-to-use dashboard and fair pay; in addition to its offering services in many states.) The most important thing is to choose a company that best suits the needs of your massage therapy business.

No two lien companies are created the same, so take the time to research different companies and choose the one that suits the needs of your business the most. Such compatibility will make for a better working relationship in the long run and allow you to feel comfortable doing business with the lien company.

Three questions you should begin with are: What types of cases do you accept?; What is the split between provider and company?; and What is the turnaround time for payment? Be sure to take good notes and document everything, because good housekeeping will make the entire process a lot easier on everyone. (To get started, simply go to Google and input the phrase lien company for a list of such businesses in your area.)

Working in the massage therapy industry is both rewarding and challenging. Making sure you know the ins and outs of business can be challenging at times, but with a little mentoring and research, and by implementing resources that will help stabilize money transactions, the pressures of billing can be alleviated to some extent. Working with a lien company is one way to be involved with clients recovering from accidents and injuries, without jumping through all the hoops of insurance reimbursement.

About the Author:

Jeanette Falu-Bishop owns Massage Business Education & Branding LLC, through which she teaches how to start or improve an already-established massage business through pre-recorded online courses, live trainings and business conferences. Her articles for MASSAGE Magazine include “Make 2021 the Year of Self-Care: 7 Ways to Set Boundaries, Self-Connect & Succeed.