While I do not have a guideline to share, I can offer an opinion. Prior to working for a health plan I spent 15 years on the privider side with 6 of those yesars strictly as a billing manager.
I would not refund the patient unless the patient overpaid according to the contractual payer (primary) EOB. If the credit is being forced due to an adjustment, I would reverse the adjustment to balance out the account. Again, I stress: as long as the patient did not overpay their finacial obligation on the primary claim.
You won't likely find a hard guideline on this. This is more of a process protocol and you should follow the same guideline for this situation across your payer population. Do not pick and choose when to apply the policy.
I would also add this process change to your billing manual, if you have one for the practice.
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