HHS on Tuesday released an interim final rule to allow physicians and hospitals more easily accept payments electronically, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/7).
The rule, which is open to public comment, will require health plans to provide standardized, online enrollment for electronic fund transfers and other transactions, HHS said.
HHS said many physician offices and hospitals continue to receive and deposit paper checks from health insurers and manually record the payments in their accounting systems (Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 8/8). HHS said the average physician spends about three weeks annually on billing and working with insurers ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/7).
The rule is expected to reduce administrative time and costs, producing a net savings of $300 million to $3.3 billion, mostly for providers (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 8/7).
HHS earlier this year adopted related standards to make it easier for health care businesses to conduct electronic transfers. Together, the rules are expected to produce savings between $2.7 billion and $9 billion over a decade ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/7).