WEDI has published a set of industry best practices for electronic payments, offering guidelines for the use of “virtual” credit cards by payers and indicating the fees that providers must pay for electronic funds transfers from. the automated clearing house.
After conducting a survey that found that 25 percent of vendors pay fees for ACH transactions and 40 percent had to accept virtual credit card payments while paying the associated transaction fees, WEDI brought the parties together stakeholders from payers, providers, clearing houses, banks and government to work towards a set of principles for electronic payments.
Officials hope they will increase use of ACH EFT, while setting guidelines for using alternative payment options such as virtual credit cards.
“The government estimates that the savings from the use of ACH EFT and the Electronic Payout Board Operating Standards and Rules amount to $ 4.5 billion for government and commercial health plans, hospitals, doctors’ offices and the like over ten years, âsaid Jay Eisenstock, chief supplier. solutions for Aetna and co-chair of the WEDI electronic payments working group, in a statement. “Supplier adoption, however, has not been as rapid as many had hoped due to reluctance to modify existing workflows or purchase supporting software.”
Among the principles of the WEDI guidance document, health plans, clearing houses and payment-related providers must complete the EFT ACH enrollment process to facilitate payments within 30 days of receiving enrollment information. from the supplier, and must not delay pending payments when a supplier chooses to begin receiving any form of electronic payment.
Suppliers should also not be subject to hidden charges. Health plans, clearinghouses and providers should inform providers of their fees associated with this payment method; advise suppliers to check with one of their contracted suppliers for additional administrative charges and to notify suppliers of the availability of an ACH EFT payment option.
Before a vendor is paid through an electronic payment method other than ACH EFT, the health plan, clearinghouse, or vendor related to the payment must receive an explicit membership agreement from the vendor. Meanwhile, when a health plan or one of their clearinghouses or payment related providers offers an ACH EFT payment option, it should offer an ACH EFT option with no set-up fee.
Supplier groups applauded the new guidelines. In a statement, MGMA CEO Halee Fischer-Wright supported WEDI’s electronic payment principles – particularly with respect to payers’ use of virtual credit cards, which require physicians to incur fees. and prevent them from automating the reassociation of payments with electronic payers payment advices.
“In the absence of clear implementation guidelines from the government, some health plans and providers are quickly making money off the backs of doctors,” Fischer-Wright said. âBad industry players effectively penalize physicians by up to 5% by reimbursing them with credit card or EFT payments that charge excessive fees. This prevents physician offices from receiving full payment for the services they provide to patients. “
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