Why Do Doctors Charge New Patients More?

(Photographer: Kurhan on stock.xchng)

All doctors’ offices — including ours — charge more for new patient visits than for existing patient visits. This is standard practice among all doctors and doctors’ offices, and it is a practice required by commercial insurance companies, Medicare, and all the Medicaid programs throughout the country.

When a doctor bills an insurance company for a visit he or she must code it differently if it’s a new patient versus return patient. This is something we are required to do.

The reason we charge more is simple: new patient visits are more complicated than existing patient visits. The staff and the doctor spend more time with the new patients while they’re at the office, and more time working after the patient leaves.