Beginning Jan. 1, health plans must now offer electronic funds transfer (EFT) and electronic remittance advice (ERA) to physician practices and hospitals as a requirement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Plans are required to implement standards set by the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare. Physicians are not required to accept EFT/ERA; however, moving from a paper-based system to an electronic one may streamline the payment process, significantly reduce administrative burdens and ultimately benefit a physician’s practice.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “Studies have found that the average physician spends three weeks a year on billing and insurance-related tasks, and, in a physician’s office, two-thirds of a full-time employee per physician is necessary to conduct these tasks.”
By utilizing an electronic payment system, practices can reduce the amount of time employees spend processing claims and manually depositing checks – and even reduce the time spent on the phone with health plans.
The EFT/EFA requirement is expected to save between $2.7 billion to $9 billion industry-wide over the next 10 years. For more information on the EFT/EFA requirements, see the CAQH website.
The AMA also has toolkits available to help you get started. Visit here and here.