Denials in Medical Billing

Denials in Medical Billing

The healthcare industry is already a complex sector with various services and specialties, and adding medical billing to the equation makes things even more challenging. One contentious point in healthcare is denials in medical billing.

Luckily, with companies like CLICKVISION BPO, healthcare providers may focus on providing care for their patients while we deal with claim denials. Read on to learn more about denials in the healthcare industry and how to prevent them!

What Are Denials in Medical Billing?

The definition of denials in medical billing refers to the denied claims submitted to insurance providers for reimbursement.

Because of the large number of claim denials by insurance companies, denial management is an integral part of ensuring a healthcare organization’s financial security. Without denial management, you risk losing your due compensation.

Denials can occur for many reasons, and it’s crucial to deal with them in a timely manner to receive compensation for the services provided.

Denials in Medical Billing

Source: freepik.com

Types of Denials

There are two standard types of denials – hard and soft.

Hard denials

A hard denial is an outright rejection of the claim by the payer. The provider will decide to forego the appeals process and drop the claim, costing them money. You may appeal this type of denial if the reason for it is because of some errors.

If a provider chooses to challenge a hard denial, they must follow a formal appeals procedure. The most common two types of hard denials are:

  • Preventable denials –These types of hard denials are caused when a healthcare provider submits a claim late or with incorrect codes. 
  • Clinical denials – These are rejected based on factors like medical necessity or level of care.

Soft denials

A soft denial occurs when the payer challenges one or more of the claim’s data points. This allows the provider to review the claim, update the supporting documentation, and resubmit it for payment. 

Soft denials typically involve incomplete information or a lack of proof for one or more of the claim’s rejected components. Common types of soft denials in medical billing are administrative denials that may be subject to appeals. 

In the case of administrative denial, the insurance company may provide the cause for the denial that might be rectified.

Common Denial Reasons

Eligibility-related denials often follow when a patient provides wrong information about his insurance coverage.  

Changes in coverage that occur during a patient’s hospital stay, particularly for those who stay for a month or more, may also lead to these denials. 

While obtaining the required patient data in advance is the most efficient approach to prevent these healthcare denials, it won’t stop all eligibility denials. 

False denials due to missing or incorrect data

These healthcare denials happen when the payer’s requirements aren’t met by the given data, which may mean that important information is missing. The claim may usually be corrected and resent for payment, which is the norm for data denials. 

Most of the time, you may prevent these denials by keeping the patient’s medical records up to date in the billing system. This way, claims won’t be sent with inaccurate or missing information.

Late submission of a claim

Different insurance providers have varying requirements for filing claims, as well as differing policies about what to do in the event that a deadline is missed. Usually this is resolved by submitting a proof of timely filing, and once reviewed, the claim will be processed again successfully. 

It is always better to file claims as soon as possible after services are provided in order to maintain the flow of income for your business. All payers have their timely filing limit, and the best way to get the correct timeframe is to call the payer directly, as the limit may also vary from one policy to another. 

Not considered medically necessary

If an insurer feels that a procedure is not medically required, they may refuse to pay for it. All parties involved may find these situations challenging, yet they might be easily avoided. 

Effective communication between medical personnel, insurance providers, patients, and healthcare professionals is crucial in situations where medical needs are challenging to understand. 

This ensures that most people make well-informed decisions. When a claim is denied on the grounds of medical necessity, a medical practice may be required to prove to the payer with additional documents why it should be paid. In other cases, providers may bill the patient for the total cost of the procedure if they fail to get payment from the insurance company. 

Financial Impact of Denials

Without denial management, healthcare organizations risk their financial security. If the claim denials keep growing, they lead to the following:

  • Revenue loss
  • Increased administrative costs
  • Delayed reimbursement

If you want to avoid such a financial impact on your healthcare organization, it is vital to incorporate denial management processes into your medical billing. 

Denial Management Process

Incorporating denial management in healthcare companies’ medical billing processes is crucial in maintaining a steady cash flow. Denial management involves identifying and resolving the issues leading to medical claim denials. 

The process encompasses the management of existing claim denials and taking preventative actions to stop future denials. With an effective denial management plan, we may help you in optimizing your future cash flow. 

Denial management has the following steps:

  1. Identification
  2. Management
  3. Monitoring
  4. Prevention 

These steps are also known as the IMMP process, a technique that allows healthcare providers to manage claim denials systemically. 

Denial Management Process

Source: freepik.com / Photo Contributor: bearfotos

Identification 

As with any successful strategy, the denial management process starts with the identification of the root cause and reason why an insurance provider denies a claim. The reasons for denials are referred to as Claim Adjustment Reason Codes (CARC).

The CARC can be rather complex to identify, and they require professionals with the right know-how and skills to decipher them. Our team has the knowledge and experience to decipher these codes. 

Management 

Once the denial cause has been correctly identified, it’s time to request your insurance to pay the medical claim in order to settle the denial. The following steps can be taken by the denial management team in order to achieve that goal: 

Routing denials correctly

The first step is to expedite and organize the documentation for information linked to denials. If the claim is denied because it was sent to an incorrect payer, they can reroute the claim once the team confirms that.

Establishing a standardized workflow 

The third step entails developing a typical response for every kind of rejection by:

  • Pinpointing the most frequent denial reason given by the clinic
  • Finding the code that is utilized the most in relation to that denial 
  • Creating a well-thought-out action plan to handle similar denials 

Making use of a checklist 

Making a basic dos and don’ts list will assist your team in avoiding typical issues that lead to claims rejections becoming uncollectible bad debts or stagnating. This way, you may ensure your organization gets its due compensation for the healthcare services provided. 

Monitoring 

Keeping an eye on the denial management procedure is essential to maintaining accuracy and ensuring your claim is paid out successfully. 

  1. First, it is important to maintain a record of the denials along with the type, date of receipt, date of appeal, and outcome.
  2. Second, sample and assess the rejection management team’s appeals in order to audit their job.
  3. Finally, but just as importantly, you must have the tools and technology necessary to complete the task quickly and effectively. This includes electronic platforms to submit appeals, robotic process automation (RPA), etc. 

Using this information, your company can advocate for an internal discussion about better business practices and a decrease in future claim denials with the insurer.

Prevention 

Launching a preventative strategy is the next task after acquiring all of the necessary data regarding claims denial. To find opportunities to retrain people, modify workflows, and update processes, you should first go through the denials again.

Additionally, you should assemble several teams that, in one way or another, support the claim’s denial. For example, if the rejection was due to a registration issue, you should notify the front desk staff and put them through the preventive program.

This way, you may ensure to avoid mistakes that result in future claims denials. You should also concentrate on preventing denials of claims related to coding schemes, lack of authorization, and medical necessity.

Key Components of Denial Management

Effective denial management, like many other healthcare concerns, relies heavily on preventing them in the first place. According to a study, up to 86% of denials can be avoided.

This shows that healthcare providers need to evaluate the situation and have a strong denial avoidance plan in place.

Healthcare companies need to create an effective denial management procedure and comprehend, measure, and solve the root reasons for their present claim denials. 

Finding the core reasons for denial

Identifying the fundamental cause of the claim denial is the first step. In the event that assessed claims are returned unpaid, the payer will explain the cause and provide an error code.

Recognizing the typical and hidden reasons for recurring denials may require a close analysis of your billing practices and administration. 

Sort denials

We may classify the rejections after determining the flow rate and causes of the denials. This will allow us to keep an eye on them and direct them to the relevant department for resolution. 

Denials can be sorted and analyzed by category to help identify areas for process revision, workflow optimization, or employee, physician, and healthcare professional retraining.

Establishing a monitoring system

Following the classification of the denial grounds, we developed a tracking system that makes it simple for us to get the following data:

  • Types of denials that impact the company
  • Patient information – patients have an impact on the company in terms of money from refused claims
  • Rejected claims with the biggest influence on medical procedures

Preventing Denials

Preventing denials in medical billing involves incorporating various strategies beyond identifying the core reasons. These include the following:

  • Staff training and education
  • Technology and advanced analytics 
  • Choosing the right partners
  • Collaborating with payers
  • Continuous improvement

Staff training and education

Healthcare staff must have sufficient training and education to minimize denials. This involves staff education and training on the following:

  • Denial management processes
  • Best practices
  • Payer-specific requirements

If the healthcare staff is not trained in managing denials in medical billing, you risk losing out on reimbursements.

Technology and advanced analytics 

Technology is invaluable in dealing with denials in medical billing. With technological solutions such as electronic platforms to submit appeals for claim denials, the entire process is streamlined. 

Moreover, leveraging advanced analytics makes it easier to find the cause of denial and address it. It also drives efficiency by allowing us to prioritize appeals. 

For example, robotic process automation (RPA) is incredibly effective in medical billing, speeding up the appeals process and minimizing errors.

Choosing the right partners

The medical billing sector is complex. This is why it is imperative for healthcare providers to choose the right partners to ensure minimization of denials. 

Outsourcing your medical billing to us means your healthcare organization may benefit from our expertise in efficiently dealing with denials.

Collaboration with payers

In order to minimize denials in healthcare billing, it is vital to have continuous collaboration with the insurance payers. By collaborating with the insurance payers, you will be able to do the following:

  • Address denial trends
  • Resolve any issues
  • Improve communication to reduce denials

Continuous improvement

In denial management processes, it is crucial to keep up with the times and ensure continuous improvement. Continuous improvement may be accomplished through the following processes:

  • Data analysis
  • Incorporating feedback mechanisms
  • Performance monitoring

Appealing Denials

To deal properly with denial management, one must know and understand the appeal process. Appealing denials involves the following steps:

  1. Reviewing a denial notice to understand the reason for the denials
  2. Gathering the necessary documents that support your claim. This includes medical records and other information that the insurance provider may ask for. 
  3. Drafting a concise and comprehensive appeal letter with outlined grounds for the appeal.
  4. Track and monitor your appeals’ status by implementing tracking systems. Also, remember to regularly follow up with the insurance provider to ensure the appealed claims are processed timely.
Appealing Denials

Source: freepik.com / Photo Contributor: BillionPhotos

Conclusion

What are denials in medical billing? Denials in medical billing happen when an insurance company denies a claim for reimbursement due to various reasons like missing information or incorrect coding. 

With the help of outsourcing companies like CLICKVISION BPO, you may get the expert help necessary to secure your organization’s financial future.

With a strong background in the marketing industry and healthcare leadership roles, Filip is responsible for CLICKVISIONBPO's sales strategies and onboarding new clients. With a passion for sharing insights gained from his experience, he also shares valuable knowledge through industry related articles.

Leave a Reply