Missed Appointment Fee: FSA Eligibility
What is a missed appointment fee?
A missed appointment fee is typically charged by a doctor's office in order to encourage patients to keep their appointments. Missed appointment fees are commonly waived by doctor's offices when there are extenuating or emergency circumstances surrounding a missed doctor's appoint or a late-cancelled doctor's appointment. This is handled on a case-by-case basis, but is still common. There is also usually a late-cancellation policy at a hospital or doctor's office that levies a similar or the same fee for patients who cancel or change appointments within a certain time frame, usually 24 or fewer hours prior to the appointment (American Medical Association).
Missed appointment fees are not eligible for reimbursement with any consumer-directed healthcare account. Missed appointment fees can be discussed between the patient and the provider, hospital or doctor's office. Missed appointment fees should be clearly briefed by the institution before the patient schedules services with them. If this is not the case, or there is no clearly written policy on the application of a missed appointment fee, then a patient should contest the missed appointment fee or ask for a negotiated fee.
Patients should review the paperwork they signed with their doctor's office. It is usually legally enforceable to charge and/or attempt to collect a lost appointment fee if the patient has signed an agreement which clearly states that missed appointment fees are part of the institution's policies for patients.
Missed appointment fees are also charged, in part, to help doctor's offices recoup lost revenue from patients that cancel appointments and never reschedule them. Some estimates suggest that doctor's offices nationally suffer a 5-7% no-show rate, and that these no-shows can cost tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a year. The effect of these no-shows is a lower profitability of the doctor's office, resulting in higher medical charges for all patients.