Last month we looked at tools for getting clean claims out the door on the first try. Many billers or practices stop monitoring claims once the leave the practice management program, but this is where you are likely losing money. The unfortunate truth is you need to use the tools available to you to catch rejected and denied claims to ensure proper and timely payment. Today we will look at rejections and denials, and the resources you have (or need) to work efficiently.
The terms rejection and denial are used interchangeably in the billing world but they have distinct differences, including how you are notified. Let’s start with defining the differences.
Claims can be rejected by the clearinghouse OR the payer
Rejections are based on submission guidelines
Rejected claims have not been entered into your payers system for adjudication
Notified through a claim status report (ANSI 277) that comes back into most practice management programs from the clearinghouse
Corrections do not require a resubmission code
Claims are denied by your payer
Denials are based on policy coverage
Denials have been accepted for adjudication and deemed unpayable
Notified on remittance advice (ANSI 835/ERA)
Payers may require a resubmission code and original reference number when submitting a corrected claim
If you are using a clearinghouse and receiving your claim status reports electronically, you will be notified quickly about rejected claims. There are two ‘checkpoints’ that will look for errors. The first is your clearinghouse, the second is the payer.
At each checkpoint claims will be Rejected or Accepted, these status updates come to you through a claim status report. If your practice management system is able to process these reports (ANSI 277) your claims will be updated with the accepted or rejected information you will be able to correct any rejected claims within your practice management system. When you see an error, start with checking who has rejected your claim. This will be the point of contact if you have questions about the rejection or how to correct it. If you are not already, make it a daily task to get your reports, correct any rejected claims, and resubmit those claims.
When a claim has been accepted by your clearinghouse and the payer it enters the adjudication system. This is where the payer will make a determination on payment based on the members coverage and your contract. The denials will appear on your remittance advice with a payment or as a zero dollar payment, indicating that they have reviewed your claim and they have determined no payment is applicable. If you are enrolled with you payer for electronic remittance advice (ERA) this file will come electronically and your practice management system will be able to list or identify denied claims. These claims will either need to be researched further for clarification on the denial or written off. It is vital that your practice management system can handle these scenarios appropriately so you do not lose money for payable services.
This is another scenario where technology can seem scary. However, efficiently monitoring and working is well worth the learning curve. If you are already sending electronically and not using the claim status report or electronic remittance advice – coordinate with your clearinghouse and practice management system to find out how these reports can save you time and money.
If you would like more information on creating workflows for rejections, denials, or enrolling with a clearinghouse, let RCM Insight help! Visit us at www.rcminsight.com to request a consultation.
[Contribution by Stephanie Cremeans with RCM Insight]
Can you add up the number of hours your billing team spent during any given week or month waiting on-hold with insurance companies to get patient billing information? Does your staff invest hours of their valuable time seeking out the smallest of details to get paid? Are you aware that integrated eligibility, through EZClaim’s medical billing software, can reduce that time on-hold to a fraction of the total?
It is estimated that the average biller can spend up to 2-hours on-hold just to get an insurance company on the phone. Add to that an average of 10 – 15 minutes to talk through a patient and most companies will only address one or two patients at a time. To add to it often there are multiple insurance companies to call. As you can tell you quickly have a considerable amount of time lost making phone calls. Instead of spending hours on the phone with insurance companies, make best use of your staff’s time by checking to see if you have the integrated eligibility feature in your billing software.
Getting started is as easy as getting set up with a clearinghouse (EZClaim clearinghouse partners). Once you are signed up with a clearinghouse for the electronic claim submission program, they will have an integrated eligibility feature that is integrated into EZClaim. Once you sign up with this feature, you can send a batch request of 50 patients at one time and if needed, send multiple requests in a day. Do this by selecting an active patient list collectively or send them individually in smaller amounts. Either way the time savings will be exponential.
Eligibility response reports often come back within seconds making the process nearly real-time. When a response comes back you have the real-time eligibility information. You will get details on if they are covered or not, their active dates, deductibles, co-insurances, co-pays, and what amounts they are subject to and what will be deducted. With EZClaim eligibility integration built in you save valuable time. To learn more contact EZClaim’s website, email, or call 877.650.0904.
EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, they help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, email them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.
If a medical billing program has “scrubbing,” why did my medical billing claim still get denied? It is a common question that we are going to answer today.
First, let’s get a better understanding of the words we are talking about. In the medical billing world, validation and scrubbing tend to be used interchangeably. While they are similar – they are not actually the same. Understanding what you have and what you need will help you submit ‘clean’ claims.
According to Technopedia, data validation checks for the integrity and validity of data and ensures the data complies with the requirements. So, what requirements? Often people assume that this means payer requirements, but that is typically not standard. Validation rules are built into your practice management software and can be used for several points. Following are some common rules you may find in your program:
Ensure NPI‘s and Tax IDs are the appropriate lengths
Ensure patients date of birth is entered
Ensure that a procedure code and place of service are present on each claim
While these scenarios are standard across the industry, there may be other situations that a validation rule can help. Some programs will allow you to create custom rules for your practice. A customized validation rule will allow you to create a rule for a payer requirement. For instance, you could create a rule to prevent the following:
Do you have a code that always requires a modifier, but only for a specific payer?
Work with pediatrics and always need the ‘relationship to insured’ to read something other than self
How about insurance ID numbers that are a specific alpha-numeric combo, like 3 letters followed by 9 digits?
Keep in mind, if you are creating validation rules the program will make sure that the criteria are met based on the rule entered into your software. When creating custom rules, it is important to note that this will not verify payer billing guidelines. You will need to obtain information directly from your payer to create a rule that coincides with their policies.
Once any validation errors have been addressed your claims will go to the clearinghouse you are working with. Most clearinghouses offer claim scrubbing for an additional fee. Technopedia defines data scrubbing as the procedure of identifying and then modifying or removing incomplete, incorrect, inaccurately formatted, or repeated data.
Claim scrubbing is available in several ways. It may be used within your practice management system, your clearinghouse, or even a third-party vendor. Claim scrubbing services can vary greatly in what they are looking for.
Once the claim has left your practice management system it will likely go through at least 2 scrubbing programs—one with the clearinghouse and one with your payer, prior to accepting the claim for processing. When claims are found to have an error, these results are sent back through a Claim Status Report (ANSI 277 file or a human-readable text file). This report will include information about why the claim cannot be processed. This report will also indicate whether it is the clearinghouse or the payer that is rejecting the claim. If you have further questions about the rejection, you will need to contact the entity that has rejected it.
Checking the Claim Status Reports on a regular basis will help you correct the errors and resubmit in a timely manner. In addition, the information you have gathered from the rejections can be used to update internal processes or create customized validation rules to prevent future rejections for the same error–saving you time and money!
RCM Insight is a medical billing company that uses EZClaim’s medical billing software. For any details that have to do with claims validation and “scrubbing,” contact RCM Insight directly.
ABOUT EZCLAIM: EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, they help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, e-mail them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.
Medical billing technology is always changing, and usually much quicker than one expects. While your current processes may be working for you, there just may be something better available to reduce staff time and increase your revenues. The thing is, technology has made huge strides in the medical billing industry in recent years, offering a number of ways to send and receive data faster, while still protecting sensitive patient information.
So, over the next several posts, we will explore different features technology can offer to increase your efficiency as well as your‘bottom line‘. We will consider how your Electronic Medical Record (EMR) can communicate with your Practice Management(billing) software, the key features to look for in your Practice Management software, and how it can communicate with other programs, such as Clearinghouses and statement vendors.
This Medical Billing Technology Series will include:
Validation vs. Scrubbing
Rejection vs. Denial
Integrating With an EMR
Integrating With a Clearinghouse
Basics of ANSI/EDI Reports
Patient Collection Policy/Credit Card Processing
Is Integrated Eligibility Worth It?
Selecting a Practice Management System (Ease of Use/Access; Training; and Support)
Now, not every office will benefit from the same “bells and whistles,” and there are so many options out there. It can be overwhelming. Chances are though, your office could benefit from considering some updates, and some may not even cost you at all!
EZClaim suggests that you take a fresh look at the workflows and processes that you have in place today, and start thinking about the tasks that are wasting time or that are causing delays in collecting payments (from both patients and insurance). These insights just may help you create a positive changeto your workflow and your revenues!
So, if you need some help getting started, consider working with a consultant. One of EZClaim’s partners, RCM Insight, offers an annual fee schedule review, and during the month of February 2021, they will be offering four practices a FREE fee schedule review. So, visit their CONTACT US page for your chance to win! [ Note: RCM Insight uses EZClaim’s medical billing software for their billing services, so it could be a ‘win-win’ if you are—or will be—using EZClaim’s medical billing solution ].
EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, they help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visitEZClaim’s website,e-mail them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.
[ Contribution: Stephanie Cremeans with RCM Insight ]
The most important thing a medical practice can do for their financial health is collecting payments from patients. So, because patients are not usually savvy when it comes to the nuts and bolts of their contract, they become frustrated when you send them a bill and, beginning on January 1st, your office staff get inundated with the question, “Why do I have a balance?”
So, let’s make sure your office is equipped and able for collecting payments from patients for the services you rendered, rather than them becoming a part of this scary statistic.
Let’s begin with the basics: Make sure that your staff understands these key terms, and is comfortable explaining them to your patients.
Deductible: The deductible is the amount the patient has to pay for covered services before the insurance plan pays. Some insurance plans will apply an office visit to the deductible, others will not. Family plans typically have an individual and family deductible.
Copay & Coinsurance: These are both the portion the patient will be responsible for after their deductible has been met. Copays are a set, flat fee. Coinsurance is a set percentage that the patient will pay.
Maximum Out-of-Pocket: This is the limit of what a patient will pay for covered services within a plan year. Again, on family plans, there may be an individual max and family max.
Now, keep in mind that your staff will not know the details of your patients’ plans, nor should they be expected to! In the ever-changing world of health insurance, patients need to become better consumers. So, just being able to explain these key terms and why they create a patient balance will help thembecome better insurance plan shoppers!
Use your tools. Look into using Integrated Eligibility (available through your billing software and your clearinghouse). This will allow your staff to check remaining deductible balances, copay, and coinsurance amounts with the click of a button. These results allow practices to confidently collect at the time of service rather than spending time and money on sending statements and working to collect after the visit.
In addition to that, create a plan and stick to it. Use this time to review the efficiency of your patient collections plan. Are you using an outdated plan or policy? Have you considered offering payment plans to patients with an HSA card kept on file? Make sure that your employees understand how important patient collections are to the practice, educate them on the plan, and support them when they hold patients accountable to the patient collections policy.
For more information on how EZClaim can help you with this journey, schedule time with our sales team. Or, if you ready to get started right now, then download your FREE 30-day demo today!
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