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Providers generally not ready for electronic remittance advice

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Savings of $4.5 billion over 10 years is the projection by the federal governement relative to a new rule to standardize electronic funds transfers.

NATIONAL REPORTS-Savings of $4.5 billion over 10 years is the projection by the federal government relative to a new rule to standardize electronic funds transfers. HIPAA-covered entities have until January 1, 2014, to comply.

Payers will need to develop infrastructure and processes to support electronic remittances, but much of the work to implement this rule will fall on providers, says Andrew L. Naugle, a principal at consulting firm Milliman. The biggest piece of the puzzle is what the provider does with the electronic remittance advice.

"Although most health insurance companies already have the capability to send an electronic remittance advice, the typical healthcare provider is not set up to accept this electronic transaction or automatically post the payment to the corresponding receivable," says Naugle.

"There is a lot of labor and expense in the healthcare provider's office to support matching of receivables and payments," says Naugle.

Electronic funds transfers can save administration costs for payers versus payments by paper check.

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