The insurance eligibility verification process includes a systematic evaluation of a patient’s treatment coverage plan. This is a crucial step that must be completed by a professional medical billing and coding team. Completing this step before providing any medical service, such as consultation or procedure, helps avoid claim rejections and denials. In short, providers can get the most out of their services, and patients receive prompt treatments.
If you are a provider and are looking to optimize your practices and reduce the number of rejected claims, this blog is for you. We will discuss the benefits of medical insurance eligibility verification services as well as their use in healthcare settings. Let’s dive in and explore this subject thoroughly.
What is Medical Insurance Eligibility Verification?
In the US, every medical service provider, such as a physician, dentist, radiologist, or pathologist, requires verification of insurance. The process that involves the induction of patients into a cutting-edge portal or database is known as insurance eligibility evaluation. This action requires medical staff present at the hospital, clinic, or urgent care facility to do a thorough background check.
Similarly, a healthcare provider’s staff evaluates if you or a patient are suitable for the services they requested from the doctor, etc. This is a legal step, and all the medical practitioners in the US must adhere to it before they can submit a claim for reimbursement from an insurance payer.
After getting the green light from the insurance about eligibility, a physician can proceed with giving the best medical care to their patients. On the other hand, this prior check of insurance on behalf of a patient allows them to get complete feedback. This step allows them to know which services are covered by their plan for which they’re already paying.
Important Steps to Verification Process
To make the insurance verification process tidy and tangle-free, the following steps must be followed. These steps not only help providers take a measured and systemic approach but also provide greater compliance. Every provider or their billing team takes these actions exactly as mentioned here, such as:
Step 1: Collecting Demographic Information
The first step starts when a patient walks into the clinic and provides his insurance card. The help desk will inquire about all the information relevant to the patient and add it to their database. The details that a physician’s assistant takes from a patient include their full name, address, location, insurance company’s name, etc.
For billing purposes, this one step is super important, and getting it right is a make-or-break. A mistake from the provider’s end may cost them a lot.
One of the most common mistakes healthcare staff make is predominantly spelling errors or typos in adding appropriate information. An error in name spellings creates a mismatch in the provider’s or insurance payer’s database. Consequently, claims are rejected or go into denial if an error is beyond the typically allowed guidelines.
A quick fix is to keep a critical eye on entering the patient name in the system. Secondly, do a revision after adding all the personal information about the patient to check for any mistakes. A double-check policy ensures not a single mistake occurs when demographic information is collected and saved in the system.
Step 2: Insurance Information
The second important step in a patient’s verification plan is collecting all necessary details about the insurance provider. The hospital’s staff should make copies of the front and back sides of the insurance card and add them to the patient’s portal or database.
Mistake that commonly occurs at this stage in adding inadequate details or ignoring insurance coverage information. Undermining the value of insurance coverage can result in an absolute loss of revenue or delayed payments. Additionally, hospital staff may miss the validity of the insurance that can result in patients being registered but for claim purposes their bill are rejected outrightly.
A good and solid solution for such mistakes is double-checking which services are covered and which aren’t. Further steps, such as thoroughly reading the emails about the specific patient and keeping a softcopy of their insurance card for any oversight of expiry and validity checking,
Step 3: Verification Process
The last process in this important step is final verification from the insurance payer. This final confirmation allows the provider to move forward on the pre-agreed terms between a doctor and insurance payer.
The insurance company’s team also informs the medical practitioner which services are covered under the plan. Any medical procedure that doesn’t fall under the plan is marked, which informs the team to make an appropriate plan. Some services are allowed but require prior authorization, such as medical explanations by the said physician, that necessitate further intervention.
After the final verification from the insurance payer about a specific patient and treatment requirements for them, a provider starts their work. Although there are many steps in the final process, such as emergency medical treatment or interventions, Such a situation can lead to additional treatment requirements and cost assessments that might not be covered by the plan.
Not looking into how much the patients are responsible for paying for the services is a common error that can lead to chaos. As soon as the clinic or hospital’s staff enter the credentials and insurance details, they receive a list of approved, restricted, and prior authorization procedures. By overlooking or ignoring its importance, it typically results in delayed service approval, denial after providing services, etc.
The provider’s staff can take prior authorization measures, like properly looking at the list, rather than just inquiring if a patient is enrolled by the insurance plan or not.
Why is it important to verify insurance?
Insurance verification is an important step in making sure a provider is paid for the services rendered to the patient. It helps medical billing staff make a clean invoice and submit it for reimbursement. Additionally, it helps payers update information about their policyholder and the services they are receiving so they can reimburse the amount to the healthcare facility.
Insurance verification is an important step in revenue cycle management and allows providers to facilitate their patients.
By taking the above-mentioned steps, a smooth transition to the verification process can be started effortlessly.
Common Verification Challenges and Solutions
There are many challenges a medical practice may face while providing services to patients. These includes:
Claim denials are the most common problem in medical billing and coding services. This happens only when the doctor or provider performs services that are not approved or added to the plan. In cases of denial, a provider’s team files an appeal to reconsider the decision. If approved, the amount is reimbursed; otherwise, it’s added to the loss in revenue.
A provider can save their practice from revenue losses by hiring a reputable medical billing company. They can certainly prevent such occurrences and create a clean stream for continuous revenue generation.
Inaccurate Patient Information:
Inaccuracies or typos in the patient’s personal information also cause a big stir and become a headache if left unresolved. Providers can use additional staff, hire third-party billers, and create a 24/7 patient help desk to deter this problem.
Best Practices for Medical Insurance Eligibility Verification
Providers can ensure best practices that will solve the shortcomings and mistakes in a gradual way. These steps may include:
Staff Training and On-hand Experience
Staff training is the best technique to overcome a lack of optimum performance and low-quality results. Providers can allocate a specific day where trainers can be hired to educate and inform the hospital staff on the best practices. Secondly, trainers can observe the staff doing their routine work and provide them with valuable feedback on areas for improvement.
Outsource Medical Insurance Eligibility Verification
Best practices include outsourcing your patient’s insurance verification work to a reputable third-party service provider. This step not only provides economical benefits but also enhances your workflow with precision. Hiring a professional team that knows the ins and outs of the verification of insurance and its nuances pays off in the end.
Additionally, it allows the burden to shift from your staff to professionals. This step lessens the already overburdened staff and allows them to focus on the urgent tasks at hand.
Software Integration to Smooth the Workflow
Medical practices that add manual inputs of data into the patient’s record must switch to applications for smooth workflow. This way, the entire verification process will be made fast, and seamless experiences can be integrated into revenue cycle management.
Medical insurance eligibility verification is an important part of revenue cycle management. Understanding the needs and challenges of this helps medical practitioners provide the best medical services to their patients. Similarly, hiring third-party professionals reduces the frequency of mistakes by local staff and the need for their training.
MedHeave’s Eligibility Verification Services
Medheave is a Massachusetts-based medical billing and coding service. We specialize in providing top-notch insurance verification to all providers across the US. If you want a seamless run of revenue cycle management, contact us today and elevate the standards of services you are providing to your patients.