Health Care Law Cuts Red Tape, Saves $4.6 Billion for Care Providers, Health Plans
Important simplifications mean doctors can spend less time filling out forms and more time seeing patients
April 10, 2012 - A proposed rule that would save health care providers and health plans up to $4.6 billion over the next
ten years, was announced Monday by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The estimated savings were
included in a proposed rule that cuts red tape and simplifies administrative processes for doctors, hospitals and health insurance plans.
The rule that will establish a unique health plan identifier under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability
Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and implement several administrative simplification provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which is sometimes called "Obamacare."
The new health care law is cutting red tape, making our health care system more efficient and saving money, Secretary
These important simplifications will mean doctors can spend less time filling out forms and more time seeing patients.
Currently, when health plans and entities like third party administrators bill providers, they are identified using a
wide range of different identifiers that do not have a standard length or format. As a result, health care providers run into a number of
time-consuming problems, such as misrouting of transactions, rejection of transactions due to insurance identification errors, and difficulty
determining patient eligibility.
The rule simplifies the administrative process for providers by proposing that health plans have a unique identifier of a
standard length and format to facilitate routine use in computer systems. This will allow provider offices to automate and simplify their
processes, particularly when processing bills and other transactions.
The proposed rule also delays required compliance by one year from Oct. 1, 2013, to Oct. 1, 2014 for new codes used to
classify diseases and health problems. These codes, known as the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition diagnosis and
procedure codes, or ICD-10, will include new procedures and diagnoses and improve the quality of information available for quality improvement
and payment purposes.
Many provider groups have expressed serious concerns about their ability to meet the Oct. 1, 2013, compliance date. The
proposed change in the compliance date for ICD-10 would give providers and other covered entities more time to prepare and fully test their
systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition to these new code sets.
The proposed rule announced yesterday is the third in a series of administrative simplification rules in the new health
care law. HHS released the first in July of 2011 and the second in January of 2012, and plans to announce more in the coming months.
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