The US healthcare marketplace is quickly turning out to be one of the most high priced markets on earth. With all the increasing complications in the service/reimbursement process, an increasing number of physicians are seeking reasonably priced possibilities to handle their internal billing processing. Even though the insurance industry has worked to make billing as streamlined as possible, other factors – mostly regulatory, like HIPAA – create additional overhead and personnel resources to follow compliance guidelines, complicate the processing of data.
Streamlined processing of medical billing with its insurance claims helps healthcare providers reduce denied claims, increase more accurate record keeping, and thereby improve productivity and profit. Billing is done either inhouse or it is outsourced, depending on the logic for the provider. Outsourcing is often less expensive than trying to do it all in the office.
Outsourced companies vary in what medical billing services they offer. They often include some of the following services.
- claims processing
- denied claims handling
- client report transcription
- data entry
- insurance authorizations
One of the most expensive parts, or at least time consuming components, of processing health records is ensuring HIPAA compliance. This is usually one of the bigger parts of the investment when bringing medical billing in-house. Outsourced medical billing facilities usually already have these elements in place, which saves significantly on initial data-processing infrastructure investments. Other advantages of outsourcing may include the following:
- reduced physical records keeping
- increased privacy
- increased productivity
- improved customer service
- improved claims processing time
- faster deposits of payments
Whether a medical practice processes billing in-house or outsources it, one definitive advantage includes freeing up time for the physicians to focus on patients. Beyond that, it seems that deciding on the most cost effective route towards integrating medical billing depends on a healthcare facility’s preference to make an initial investment in infrastructure up front or to save time and money initially and outsource over the long run.