CFPB Medical Billing

CFPB Medical Billing Changes Mean a Need to Focus on Insurance

Government actions often mean that providers need to adjust how they address medical billing – recent news out of the White House is no different. 

The federal government has long been trying to address the state of patient payments and medical billing services and has made new moves in terms of credit cards and financing. For providers, this could mean a direct impact to your cash flows and a need to look for stability from insurance payments as the patient side continues to adjust and adapt. 

What’s Happening with Patients and Medical Billing
In May, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a report on the state of specialty financial products that impact medical billing. This included medical credit cards and installment loans. The report makes the claim that these options are more expensive for patients than others such as regular credit cards – something providers should be aware of if a large portion of their revenues come from patient pay. The report goes on to outline risks to consumers and a background on the products [1]. 

Providers who are concerned about having to rely more on insurance payments for a healthy revenue cycle will want to pay attention to the section of the report that covers marketing to providers. It outlines how financial firms market these products to hospitals and other providers and how these firms also provide training and promotional materials to help providers offer the products to patients. It also covers the incentives these firms use including promises of reduced costs, shorter payment times, and minimizing financial risk. The agency claims that these can be a deterrent to providers to give details on alternatives like zero-interest repayment options and legally mandated financial assistance programs. 

One area of particular interest to providers should be the increased burden on their staff when informing patients of terms and risks. Providers need to spend time explaining products to patients, meaning staff have to be trained on how to explain complex concepts like deferred interest plans if they don’t want to rely solely on the training and marketing materials that come from financing companies. 

What This Means for Providers and Medical Billing
For providers who want to stay on top of this trend in changes to the patient financial experience, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You should stay up to date: The bureau hosted a hearing on medical debt and payment products on July 11th. You can get more details on that on their website [2]. 
  • Review your current processes: As things stand now, are you using any of these products? What percent of your revenue do they take up? If the government were to make changes in how they’re handled, how would you be impacted? 
  • Prepare for future investment: It’s very likely that these actions at the federal level will eventually translate to changes for you. Do you have the cash flows to invest in additional training for your staff?
  • Assess your history: How often are you encountering junk plans now? Are they more prone to medical billing denials and do they require more effort to appeal? Have you been documenting the impact on your cash flows?  If not, now is a good time to set up KPIs to monitor activity and how future changes could impact the health of your revenue cycle
  • Shore up your insurance side: This announcement from the CFPB doesn’t stand alone. It’s part of a trend of actions from multiple areas of government to protect patients as they take on a greater share of the cost of care. But the road will not be smooth. Providers will need to make sure that their revenue cycle processes in medical billing on the insurance side are as stable and efficient as possible to get them through any future disruption. 

Other Government Actions That Impact Medical Billing
Providers should also be aware of actions happening elsewhere in the federal government. The Biden administration recently anointed its plans to target short-term or “junk” health insurance plans. The rule is in response to the previous administration’s expansion of plans with skimpy coverage. They are also known as Association Health Plans (AHPs) and short-term plans. 

These plans allow small businesses as well as self-employed people to form associations to purchase insurance the same way a larger employer would. These policies might cover fewer treatments and services than patients are aware of. They are designed to fill temporary coverage gaps and last a maximum of 12 months, being allowed to be renewed for up to 36 months. Under the Affordable Care Act, they do not fall under the definition of individual health insurance coverage, which means they could possibly discriminate against patients with pre-existing conditions and are not required to provide coverage for things such as prescription medications, maternity services, and mental health services. 

As these plans are under threat, providers will need to take a different approach to medical billing services. This level of uncertainty in the future of insurance means that having an external partner who understands the potential changes and risks will be critical as the future unfolds. To learn how we can be that medical billing partner for your organization, start here.


[1] A. Carobus, “CFPB Targets Specialty Financial Products Used to Pay for Medical Care,” Ballard Spahr L.L.P., 30 May 2023. Available:
[2] CFPB, “CFPB Hearing on Medical Billing and Collections,” 11 July 2023. Available:

Physician Medical Billing Is Critical to Practice Health

Why A New Look at Physician Medical Billing Is Critical to Practice Health

Challenges in physician medical billing have changed. 

From the impact of a pandemic, to shifts in government, to changes in patient demographics, practices have seen the factors that shape their physician billing services turn upside down in recent years. This means that many practices are in a position of playing “catch up” in their physician billing services. But while the path forward might be unclear, there are ways that practice revenue cycle leaders can make changes to remain healthy and align their physician billing strategy with modern challenges. Here is a look at the issues you face as well as how to get past them. 

Modern Challenges Complicating Physician Billing Services
Post public health emergency, many practices are faced with an opportunity to assess the environment they’re functioning in for better understanding of how to move forward. Here are some key challenges to look out for at your practice [1]. 

Manual Processes Are Slowing You Down
Are you still relying on paper as the backbone of your physician billing services? Many practices are sending paper bills to their patients, despite the fact that under 10% of patients want to pay a bill using a paper check. 

Beyond this, paper statements are often confusing for patients and don’t clearly communicate how much they’re owed. Manual processes slow down patient payments, with 70% saying it can take more than 30 days after a patient visit to collect. But paper isn’t only a problem with patients. Managing appeals via manual processes can slow down your cash flows from insurance companies as well. 

You Aren’t Thinking Digital
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, technology for collection was a “nice to have”, but today, it’s a necessity. Surveys have found that as many as three out of four providers still use paper despite consumers wanting online payment at about the same rate. Unfortunately, 40% of providers believe that billing and collection practices have no impact on the patient experience. 

If you aren’t open to using digital in both patient and payer collection in physician medical billing, you’re falling behind the curve and are missing out on revenue from patients and insurance companies. 

You Don’t Understand Patient Payment Trends
High deductible health plans might have dropped in use between 2020 and 2021, but the deductibles themselves have increased. The same issues apply to traditional insurance where copays and deductibles are growing. Medical practices should be paying attention to hospital trends, where balances are getting higher, and patients are demonstrating increasing difficulty in meeting their financial obligations. 

This is a challenge to physician medical billing, especially if you aren’t tracking trends and haven’t adjusted for changes to your approach to collections since before the pandemic. 

How to Adjust Your Physician Billing Services
Now is an excellent time to look at your approach to physician medical billing and make changes that will sustain you even through future upheaval. Here are some places to start. 

Ensuring Funds Are Available For Growth
As you move forward, you will have multiple decisions to make in terms of where to invest for growth and sustainability – and many of these will require financial investment. This means that your first step will be making room in your budget for potential future opportunities. 

For example, this could include things like new practice management software, training for staff on how best to collect from commercial insurance, and bonuses to retain personnel who are the most effective and who will best support your practice as new challenges arise. Keep in mind that this is a long-term need. Modern challenges in physician medical billing will continue to evolve and to stay healthy, your practice will need to keep up on an ongoing basis. 

Investing in People
There is an ever-increasing amount of technology available to help you get past manual processes and keep up with patient payment trends. But this doesn’t mean you can skip investing in people. 

Your staff will need ongoing training on things like medical billing and coding, new technologies, process improvement, and maintaining a positive patient experience as you work to keep your practice healthy. This level of focus has to happen at the strategy level, with commitment from your practice to prioritize people from now on. 

This is more than just an internal question. Many practices see benefits from expanding their access to trained staff who understand the specialized needs of their practice by partnering with external experts. Know that, as challenges become more complex, the less an individual practice will be able to handle physician billing services alone and the more they will need to consider solutions like outsourcing to access knowledge and flexible talent. 

Attracting top leadership who are up to the task
Physician owners are often in a difficult position and sometimes, they aren’t really running their practices with a business mindset. This isn’t always a choice. They could very well be open to ideas to improve practice health, but don’t have the people underneath them that they need. 

This is where strong leaders on the administrative side come in. As practice management becomes increasingly complex, practices will need leaders who are up to the task of today’s challenges, and not just those who have demonstrated past successes. 

In today’s fast-changing environment, every practice needs access to a partner who understands physician billing services and can help them adapt multiple aspects of their business to meet the issues of the future. To learn how we can be that partnership for you, contact us today.

[1] B. Crotty, “4 Key payment trends impacting physician practices,” MJH Life Sciences, 23 November 2022. Available:

Revenue Cycle management Services

Medicaid Disenrollment Means Providers Should Rethink Revenue Cycle Management Services

Medicaid unwinding has been a critical topic around revenue cycle management services for months now, and this is because providers will be directly impacted. Most providers should expect to see serious upheaval in their revenue cycle management services as patients are kicked off Medicaid rolls.

Medicaid Unwinding Explained
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment in Medicaid increased, largely thanks to the continuous enrollment provision that prevented people from having their coverage removed. For providers, this meant an unprecedented stability in the Medicaid enrollment in their care communities. But since the end of the public health emergency (PHE) this has changed. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) estimates that anywhere between 8 million to 24 million people will lose their coverage as the continuous enrollment provision unwinds [1]. 

Providers such as hospitals, health systems, home health agencies, and physician practices will need to pay attention, possibly even considering working with a revenue cycle management company. But first, it will be important to understand the possible outcomes during the unwinding. 

How States Will Be Impacted
Not every state will see the same issues, so providers should be working to understand their individual risk. 

For example, Utah is expected to have the highest proportion of members who are taken off the rolls, with a possible percentage difference of 32.5%. After that is Indiana at 28.1%, Minnesota at 27.2%, and North Dakota at 26.5% [2]. States with the lowest impact include:

  • Nebraska
  • Connecticut
  • Kansas
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • New Mexico 

Providers in each of these states are already working on plans to adjust. Indiana University Health, for example, is offering personal assistance to members to help them keep their benefits or find a path to new coverage. They’re doing this through financial counselors at their hospitals and cancer centers as well as through community outreach events. 

Florida’s Memorial Healthcare System is in a state that could see around 1 million people disenrolled during the unwinding. The health system is working on auto-enrolling based on information gathered by the state but is also aware that work and preparation will need to happen for people who aren’t able to auto-enroll and who might need support looking for alternative coverage. 

The Uninsured Challenge
During the three-year period of continuous enrollment (February 2020 to March 2023) Medicaid enrollment increased by around 20 million people. This was the reason the uninsured rate fell to its lowest level at the beginning of 2022. Unfortunately, according to the recent KFF survey, only about one-third of states had the ability to project coverage losses around disenrollment, meaning providers will face multiple challenges in establishing revenue cycle management services that align with their needs as uninsured populations rebound [3]. 

Providers should expect that, while renewals resume for Medicaid enrollees, they will see substantial uncertainty around how many people will lose Medicaid coverage, how many will find their way to other coverage, and how many will become uninsured. That said, most providers can be sure that they will see an increase in their uninsured rates, on top of increases in enrollment in CHIP and private health insurance. 

But exact predictions will be difficult. Consider that, since Medicaid enrollment was automatically sustained through the height of the pandemic, some people who are currently listed as enrollees through administrative data could have started working and might now have insurance coverage under an employer. At the same time, the federal surveys that measure uninsured rates (through self-reporting) show smaller increases in enrollment than administrative data. 

Hospitals Could See Mixed Results
Hospitals will need to pay close attention to their revenue cycle outcomes. Hospitals now are dealing with changes from the end of the PHE including shifts in bad debt and charity care as well as other factors tied to the end of the continuous coverage requirement. 

Kaufman Hall reports that the April increases in bad debt and charity care could be directly tied to Medicaid disenrollment. They also report that hospital volumes have dropped, including both inpatient and outpatient. These decreases combined with increases in charity care and bad debt could be a signal that widespread disenrollment is at hand. Erik Swanson, senior vice president of data and analytics believes there is a link. “With states conducting their Medicaid eligibility redetermination, it’s predicted that hundreds of thousands of people will ultimately become uninsured. The data indicate that we may already be seeing the effects of disenrollment materialize with patients less likely to seek out the care they need and a continued rise in bad debt and charity care.” [4]

Hospitals will be navigating these changes while paying more for supplies and labor, stressing the importance of looking for a revenue cycle management company who can help them ride out these trends in the best way possible. 

Nursing Homes Are Waiting to See Outcomes
Even as hundreds of thousands have already been removed from Medicaid rolls, the impact hasn’t been severe for Medicaid-dependent nursing home residents according to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. Their survey of a dozen sector associations about the end of the COVID-19 PHE and Medicaid unwinding found reports of no significant impact. As a result, members are following their standard processes to continue serving their Medicaid-eligible residents. That said, in Oklahoma, where 70% of disenrollments have been a result of procedural issues (vs. proven ineligibility), neither the Oklahoma Health Care Association or LeadingAge Oklahoma could comment on the situation in nursing homes [5].

How to Approach Revenue Cycle Management Services
This is a time of ongoing uncertainty for providers. Cash flows will undoubtedly be impacted even as expenses are increasing. Providers should be taking a step back to examine their approach to revenue cycle management services, assessing whether they have the ability to monitor and respond to this type of unprecedented change. Most will also need to consider partnering with a revenue cycle management company to navigate the coming changes. To learn more about a revenue cycle management company that can help you in this process, start here.

[1] J. Tolbert and M. Ammula, “10 Things to Know About the Unwinding of the Medicaid Continuous Enrollment Provision,” KFF, 9 June 2023. Available:
[2] R. Wilson, “How many people could lose Medicaid coverage, state-by-state,” Becker’s Healthcare, 31 March 2023. Available:
[3] A. Burns, E. Williams, B. Corallo and R. Rudowitz, “How Many People Might Lose Medicaid When States Unwind Continuous Enrollment?,” KFF, 26 April 2023. Available:
[4] J. LaPointe, “Hospital Finances Break Even as PHE Ends, Medicaid Unwinds,” RevCycleIntelligence, 31 May 2023. Available:
[5] J. R. Towhey, “As Medicaid disenrollments surge, concerns about nursing home residents persist,” McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, 5 June 2023. Available:

Accounts Receivable Management Tips for Healthcare: It’s Time to Standardize Your Metrics for Denial Management

Accounts Receivable Management Tips for Healthcare: It’s Time to Standardize Your Metrics for Denial Management

Claim denial rates are still a major concern for accounts receivable management in 2022. For example, denial rates for marketplace payers have reached rates as high as 80% according to the Kaiser Family Foundation [1]. But this is only the beginning. COVID has put upward pressure on denial rates for a while now. All of this means that revenue cycle leaders should be taking a fresh look at their denial management practices, not only considering accounts receivable management services but also seeing this as an opportunity to investigate new and more effective approaches to denial management.

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