Navigating Through a Multiple Payer Environment – Providers’ Perspective

Healthcare delivery in the United States of America has come a long way from cash-based to insurance-backed. Currently, over 85% of the nation’s residents have health care plans either through employers’ private pools, private companies, the veterans’ health administration, the children’s health insurance program and Medicare/Medicaid/TRICARE. While insurance payers (whether Federal or private) essentially cover health risks of the insured, they differentiate themselves with their respective restrictive operational requirements. The impact of this restrictive payment environment is such that health care providers are increasingly finding it difficult to procure their payments on time. And, with the Federal Government inclined to make health insurance mandatory, care providers’ only hope is to find a way to deal with multiple regulatory insurance payers.

Unlike United Kingdom and Canada, which have single-payer system, US is characterized by Federal and Private Payer systems. And Federal system is again sub-divided into Medicare/Medicaid/TRICARE.

The majority of insured Americans receive their health care (insurance) coverage via a private insurance company. Currently in the country, 59.3% of all insured Americans have coverage through private insurers. These private insurance holders can once again be classified under:

  • Group insurance, which is availed through an employer with provision to cover spouses and children, based on the particular package
  • Individual Insurance, which is purchased by the insured himself to cover his or his family health risks
  • Managed-care plans: The two most popular types of managed-care plan providers in America are Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs). An HMO plan will have a predetermined facility and doctor for you and/or family. When you need treatment, you will have to visit the contracted facilities and see the contracted physicians in order for the insurance to pay the bill

With so many variants of private healthcare policies, healthcare providers usually have a hard time understanding and billing with private payers. The stress is so much that it is actually started to impede their clinical efficiency, which is their main concern. There is a whole lot of stressful restrictions that providers will come across, such as:

  • dealing with deductibles and copayments,
  • establishing medical necessity of a procedure
  • dealing with preexisting conditions

Though dealing with Federal Payer system is relatively less difficult, providers have to deal with state-specific rules that govern Medicaid/Medicare:

  • With the Federal Government hinting at extending Medicare base from the current 28%, providers will have more Medicaid/Medicare supported visitors
  • Federal Government entertains Medicaid/Medicare beneficiaries’ bills from only a few designated providers. Therefore, care providers have an overriding duty to check insurance authorization prior to administering medical services
  • Further, Medicare/Medicaid is also bound by restrictions on repetitive, pre-existing, and quantum of admissible medical expenditure to its beneficiaries

If understanding multiple payer system and their respective restriction constitutes half of the battle, billing and coding in ICD-10 and HIPAA 5010 Version will constitute the other half. But, providers, with their clinical efficiency at stake, would do well to assign these operational issues to external billing consultants. with credible history of helping physicians realize maximum claim realization amidst multiple payer environment – will help make the task a lot easier. Our medical billing professionals are highly trained and certified with experience in handling multiple payer environment and the latest coding practices. Their expertise combined with our technology edge is a sure way to turnaround your practices’ revenues.