Although it has been quite a while since the Federal Government announced a series of far-reaching healthcare reforms, we are yet to experience their full impact across the healthcare continuum. And, with the Senate bill deferring a major chunk of the reforms further, it is expected that we may have to wait as late as 2014 to witness their full impact.
Amongst a string of reforms that will take effect from 2014 are the ones emanating from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will bring immediate benefits to millions of Americans, including those who currently have coverage. The following benefits will be available in the first year after enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
- Access to affordable coverage for the uninsured with pre-existing conditions, which means the act will provide $5 billion in immediate federal support for a new program to provide affordable coverage to uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions
- Re-insurance for Retiree Health Benefit Plans, wherein the act will create immediate access to re-insurance for employer health plans providing coverage for early retirees. This re-insurance will help protect coverage while reducing premiums for employers and retirees
- Closing the Coverage Gap in the Medicare (Part D) Drug Benefit, under which the act will reduce the size of the “donut hole” by raising the ceiling on the initial coverage period by $500. There would also be guarantee of 50 percent price discounts on brand-name drugs and biologics purchased by low and middle-income beneficiaries in the coverage gap
- Extension of dependent coverage for young adults, wherein act requires insurers to permit children to stay on family policies until age 26
Coupled with this set of reforms, which are believed to improve physicians’ revenues, there are also reforms that are likely to test their ability to practice delay-and-denial-free reimbursement practices:
- The Accountable Care Organization Model, which requires physicians to realign their practices in congruence with Medicare incentive framework
- The ghost of Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) fix, which threatens to substantially erode physicians’ share of Medicare reimbursements
- Last but not the least, the radical ICD-10 and HIPAA 5010 compliant clinical and coding practices, which, though indispensable to reduce healthcare fraud and abuse, are going to force medical practices into a more stringent reimbursement environment than ever
While the impact of the ensuing healthcare reforms are going to be felt across the whole healthcare continuum, it is the medical billing practices that would be most affected. Therefore, it is going to be crucial that medical billers and coders respond with highest degree of professional dynamism to mitigate the chances of physicians’ medical claims running the risk of denial or delay. When one thinks of the possible areas that medical billers and coders would be addressing post 2014, the following come up to the fore:
- Ensuring compliant EMR Systems for physicians: As a seamless EMR System is the foundation for apt medical coding, medical billers will be called upon to advice their clients’ on the efficacy of implementing EMR System as part of their effective and efficient medical billing management.
- Upgrading their competence to ICD-10 and HIPAA 5010: As the new coding and reporting regimen takes over shortly, medical billers – to avoid being outdated and obsolete – need to make a successful transition to the ensuing ICD-10 and HIPAA 5010 requirement.
- Helping physicians on public and private insurance composition: With the healthcare reforms deciding to minimize reimbursement on Medicaid and Medicare policies, physicians/hospitals are rethinking on what should be the composition of public and private insurance holders in their patient population. Consequently, medical billers’ role assumes greater significance in recommending a judicious mix of public and private health insurance holders in their clients’ patient population.
- Establishing a mutually respectable relationship with insurance carriers: Forging a cordial relationship can go a long way in ensuring fast, and delay free reimbursement of physicians’ medical bills; medical billers would do well to build a rapport with heterogeneous insurance carriers.
- Educating physicians about internal preparation for medical billing: Apart from ensuring a compliant system of billing, submission, and realization, medical billers will also be called upon to educate physicians about the efficacy of upgrading internal system of data recording and filing for complimenting comprehensive needs of medical billing management.
- Approaching Medical Billing as a wholesome exercise: Above all, medical billers will be asked to view physician’s medical billing from a complete revenue cycle management perspective rather than one-off billing exercises. Such a comprehensive approach improves the probability of positive outcomes immensely.
As physicians, in the wake of these sweeping healthcare reforms, look to elevate their billing and coding practices through outsourced medical billing services, Medicalbillersandcoders.com – known for its proven medical billing solutions to a majority of physicians, hospitals, clinics, and multispecialty groups across the whole of U.S – should be a preferential choice for streamlined medical billing practices.