On Thursday, HHS released an interim final rule detailing standards for the electronic transfer of funds in the health care industry. The rule was mandated by the federal health reform law. The new rule outlines the standards for the format and content of the data that a health insurer sends to its bank when it seeks to pay a claim to a health care provider electronically. The rule also requires the use of a trace number to automatically link medical bills from health care providers with payments from health plans. HHS noted that the interim final rule became effective Jan. 1, and all HIPAA-covered health insurers must comply with the regulations by Jan. 1, 2014. HHS estimated that the new standards would reduce administrative costs in the health care industry by $4.5 billion over the next 10 years.