Insurers Paying Doctors Faster But Inefficiency Remains, Especially With Medicaid

"US health insurers are paying doctors seven days faster, on average, and denying 12 to 18 percent fewer claims than last year, but the claims reimbursement system remains saddled with inefficiency, according to a new ranking of payers set to be released today," The Boston Globe reports. "While most private insurers have made progress in using technology to accelerate medical claims processing, state-run Medicaid programs across the country continue to lag, the report shows, even as the states prepare to add tens of millions of newly insured individuals to their rolls under the national health care law."

The report, from Athenahealth Inc., "in collaboration with the Physicians Practice management journal, drawing on a database of 24,000 health care providers in 45 states," found that Humana Inc. was the most efficient insurer. But "the majority of back-office operations at hospitals, doctors offices, and insurers remains slow and disorganized because the fragmentation of the health care industry makes it difficult to establish standards for technology and transactions" (Weisman, 5/26).

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