MAIL DELIVERY IS SLUGGISH
Blame it on the Covid pandemic or the politicization of the system, but the United States Postal Service’s delivery rate bottomed out at 62 percent—the lowest in years. It rebounded a bit by March of 2021 to 84%. But even that number falls short of the agency’s target of 96%. If your optometry practice receives a bulk of its payments or processes claims by snail mail, your AR could suffer. You can improve your AR with electronic payments.
When you process claims electronically versus mailing them or hand keying them into a portal, payers receive claims quicker and, accordingly, issue payment quicker.
An added bonus is you’ll do less data entry, and therefore make fewer mistakes. Fewer mistakes translate to quicker payment.
Here are four steps you can take today to improve your AR with electronic payments.
#1 Set Up Payers Within Your Software To Submit Claims Electronically
To improve your AR with electronic payments, first check that each payer that can process electronically is set up to do so, possibly through the clearinghouse.
It is essential each payer is identified as an electronic submission. Also, during this step, make sure the payer ID is correct and going to the proper destination.
Check that your software has the ability to include specific payer needs, such as automatically listing certain areas on your claims. An example of this is Medicare claims. They require you have a referring provider listed in box 17. Sometimes your electronic setup in your software will allow you to default to that so that it manually comes up with each and every Medicare claim.
#3 Transition To ETF Enrollments
Take a look at the ways you are receiving your payments. For any paper checks or possibly virtual credit cards that come into the office via mail, set up EFT enrollments with those payers. Then you can sign up for direct deposits. This will expedite the payment process (and improve your AR). Just be aware that some might charge a credit card fee.
#4 Review Payers Often
Review the list of payers that you have and review those payers often—at least yearly. Changes tend to be made at the beginning of the benefit year. When reviewing your payer list, check for correct electronic payer IDs, correct addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers.
Most of this information is available on your clearinghouse website. You can also check for the information for electronic claim submissions on your payer portals, as well as on the front and back of your patient’s insurance card.
Keeping this information in a central, easy-to-access location (preferably in your billing software) will help minimize the time you have to dig for pertinent information.
For Remaining Paper Payers, Keep It Clean
You may still receive some paper checks. If you do, make sure those payers have your correct payment addresses on file. Often a small detail is wrong, and all it takes to fix is submission of an updated W9 form.