ONLINE CLAIMS: HHS Announces ‘Simpler’ Forms for Filing
The government has released its final rule setting content and format standards for filing electronic claims or making similar electronic transactions, establishing "simpler" formats that most insurers and providers will be required to accept within 26 months, HHS Secretary Donna Shalala announced Friday. Some small insurers will have an additional year before compliance is required. Although providers still will be allowed to use paper- based forms if they choose, the government expects the new standardized electronic forms, required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, will encourage more electronic filing, saving the health care industry an estimated $29.9 billion over 10 years. Shalala added, however, that the government is releasing the rule "under the assumption that privacy protections" -- implemented by either HHS regulations or congressional action -- "will be in place" by the time the standards take effect. She added that if such protections are not in place, HHS will "seriously consider" postponing or withdrawing the electronic filing rules (AP/Nando Times, 8/12). The rules are available at http://aspe.hhs.gov/admnsimp/final/txfin00.htm (AHA News Now, 8/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.