Why Electronic Medical Billing Is Essential For Healthcare Reform


Many healthcare professionals have long realized that electronic billing saves time and money for a practice of virtually any size. Electronic billing is efficient and environmentally friendly. Because it requires less work to process, it is also much more cost effective than manual billing. As doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies prepare to transition into the changes set forward by the Affordable Care Act, many of them are realizing that beyond being effective and efficient, electronic medical billing is necessary in order to incorporate the new changes brought about in 2014 by the Affordable Care Act.

Cut Down on Losses From Underpayment

According to Healthcare Finance News, the average hospital suffers 3-5% losses in its profits annually due to underpayment. Many instances of underpayment are the result of bills that were not properly generated or processed by office staff. This may frequently happen because of some discrepancies between the amounts owed by insurance providers or those owed by patients. It may also be the case that some balances are left completely unpaid due to missed accounts receivable. Electronic billing allows billing staff to have a much more accurate idea of what balances have been paid and which amounts should be paid by which payers.

An Influx of New Patients Means More Resources Necessary

Millions of Americans are expected to purchase health insurance by the 2014 deadline set out by the Affordable Care Act, and most healthcare analysts agree that this will mean a major upswing in the number of patients seeking care. This means that doctor’s offices and hospitals will suddenly have a much higher volume of patients, which will mean a period of adjustment for physicians and office staff alike. As offices are suddenly met with a majorly increased demand for services, they will need to find areas to streamline administrative and other processes. Electronic billing is much more efficient and will allow staff to focus on both new and existing patients.

As Insurance Plans Adjust, Demand for Ease of Records Access Increases

The Affordable Care Act is poised to change virtually all aspects of medical billing in some way. Insurance companies will be required to cover all types of people, and the services and procedures covered will also change. Communicating with insurance companies during this time of transition will be the key factor in ensuring that the transition into compliance with the act goes smoothly. Electronic billing offers both hospital staff and insurance providers much more clarity and shared access when it comes to discussions surrounding billing.

New Coding Procedures Require Easy to Understand Bills

As doctors and their staff complete the education and training necessary to transition to new ICD-10 coding procedures they may face a bit of a learning curve. ICD-10 will give physicians a much wider vocabulary which with to bill, but it also poses some potential for confusion at first. The clarity that is brought about by electronic billing will make new billing codes more intuitive to use.

Analytics Offer Solutions to Problems

Troubleshooting problems has always been an integral part of medical billing, but paper bills often make finding problems and assessing their causes difficult and extremely time consuming. As office staff prepares to implement the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act, they will not have the time or resources available to spend long hours analyzing billing data. Electronic billing allows for analytics to be run quickly and easily, which will help give a very clear picture of where losses are occurring and what steps may be implemented to stop them.

In the new era of healthcare being ushered in by the Affordable Care Act, the importance of electronic billing cannot be stressed enough.