There are three major mistakes within the office setting that are contributing to a loss of revenue through non-payment. The errors can easily be prevented and some can be eradicated before patients ever arrive for their appointments.
Clinics across the nation are feeling the effects of longer turnarounds on reimbursements and outright denials by health insurance companies to pay for services.
Verify Health Insurance Information Each Time Services Are Provided
The number one cause of denied reimbursement claims is a failure to verify health insurance information. Loss of employment and changes in insurance coverage can occur at any time. It’s essential that client coverage is verified for each patient anytime services are rendered.
Denials occur for any number of reasons, but the most common is the coverage has been terminated, followed by the patient being ineligible. Many health insurance plans require pre-authorization for procedures and have limits on benefits.
Failure to obtain permission or determine if the client has reached a maximum benefit amount will result in denial of payment. Practitioners should also ascertain if specific services are covered.
Current Patient Information Is Essential
They may seem like simple errors, but incomplete or incorrect patient information is the second most common cause of denials. Clinicians should ensure that the client’s name is spelled correctly and the date of birth is accurate, along with the address, complete contact information and gender.
Some patients have healthcare coverage through multiple providers, requiring clinics to perform additional checks to coordinate benefits. The policy holder and their relationship to the patient must be clear.
Each health insurance provider has its own set of rules for submitting claims and special attention should be paid to ensure those requirements are met.
Diagnosis, Procedure Codes and Sloppy Handwriting
Diagnosis and procedural codes provide essential information to health insurance companies about the patient’s condition, symptoms and treatment. Codes that don’t match the information provided can result in a denial on the grounds that the procedure wasn’t medically necessary or it doesn’t match an authorization.
Clinicians should ensure that their medical billing and coding experts are utilizing current codes and that they’re updated yearly. Another source of denials is poor penmanship on the part of the practitioner, a situation that is easily corrected with implementation of an integrated electronic medical record (EMR) system.
Human error and failing to verify health insurance information complicates the process, leading to payment denials and loss of revenues.
Vigilance is the only cure for clinics still using paper records. Implementation of an EMR transitions clinics away from wasteful paper records and virtually eliminates the top three mistakes of health insurance claim submissions that rob practitioners of revenues.