Electronic claims offer faster receipt, processing

Doctors have increased the amount of electronic claims they submit by almost 50 percent in the last 10 years.

In 2002, only 44 percent of claims were filed electronically; in 2011, 94 percent of the more than 453 million claims for healthcare services were filed electronically, according to a new survey released Tuesday by America's Health Insurance Plans.

AHIP found that insurers typically process electronic claims faster than their paper counterparts. Insurance companies processed 93 percent of claims within 14 days of receipt and 98 percent of all claims within 30 days.

Insurers also spend an average of $1.36 to process each claim. Automatically adjudicated claims cost $.99 per claim to process, while pending claims cost $3.99 to process, AHIP calculated.

"This survey demonstrates that health plans are playing a leadership role in improving claims processing," AHIP CEO Karen Ignagni said yesterday in a statement. "Increasing the percentage of claims submitted and paid electronically will reduce paperwork, improve efficiency, and help bring down costs."

But some doctors still are filing their claims slowly, with 16 percent of electronic claims and 54 percent of paper claims submitted more than 30 days after the service date. And 9 percent of all claims in 2011 were filed more than 60 days after the service date, according to the survey

Although doctors have reduced the amount of time it takes to submit claims since 2002, AHIP still pressed them to file more timely.

To learn more:
- here's the AHIP survey (.pdf) and statement