End Insurer Credit Cards Payments

If you’ve been receiving payments from insurers via plastic or “virtual” credit cards, do whatever you can to put an end to it.
Using credit cards to make payment allows insurers to shift the cost of transferring money to the practice. The insurer doesn’t have to pay an electronic funds transfer (EFT) fee, or process and mail a check. Instead, vendors who issue the credit cards charge a transaction fee—which can be as high as 5 percent of the total dollar value—when the cards are redeemed. These fees are charged to the practice, not the insurer, which lowers the reimbursement you receive considerably.
This payment approach has become common enough that the American Medical Association wrote a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administer Marilyn B. Tavenner this past summer, requesting that CMS put a stop to it.
Remember, your contracts stipulate the payments you are to receive for services provided and properly reported, as well as how you will receive them. Unless your contract specifically requires you to receive payments from the insurer by credit card, you can insist that the insurer pay you by another, contracted method. For example, the healthcare EFT standard known as ACH CCD+ is HIPAA approved and costs less than credit card transactions. Be sure to consider this in any future contract negotiations, as well.
Also, be aware of your office’s merchant credit card agreement and its associated fees (which apply when patients pay you directly using a credit card). You can negotiate these contracts, as well.

John Verhovshek
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John Verhovshek, MA, CPC, is a contributing editor at AAPC. He has been covering medical coding and billing, healthcare policy, and the business of medicine since 1999. He is an alumnus of York College of Pennsylvania and Clemson University.

No Responses to “End Insurer Credit Cards Payments”

  1. romina says:

    what if we dont have a contract and the services were rendered in the Emergency Room

  2. Wendy Scheetz says:

    I can appreciate the fees associated with credit cards; however, I believe we need to evaluate what else your office could lose if a patient presents at your office and doesn’t have the cash to pay. Do you cancel their appointment? If you do, you have just lost the revenue for that reserved appointment slot. What if they pay by check and the check bounces? Sometimes the fees will actually help your bottom line.

  3. Mandy says:

    Wendy, the article is referring to insurance payments, not patient payments.