Billing Codes Increase in 2013, Threaten to Slow Billing Process

25 Oct

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, overhead and billing expenses take up as much as 43 percent of a doctor’s annual revenue. When you consider the fact that insurance companies will not always make it easy on you to have your claims paid, it makes it that more daunting. But, when 2013 rolls around, the challenge gets tougher. In fact, you will have 155,000 reasons to consider hiring a medical billing company to handle your claims.

Published by the World Health Organization (WHO), The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-9) currently contains 17,000 billing codes to choose from in order to classify diseases and a wide variety of symptoms, causes, and other variables. But, all that will change on October 1, 2013, when the number of codes will increase to an astounding 155,000 under the ICD-10.

As one might suspect, more codes means longer billing processes. Coders will need to increase their knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. They will also need to work more closely with doctors to work out the kinks in the new coding process.

The United States is late to the game, so to speak, with implementing the ICD-10. Other countries that have been under the latest coding guidelines for years have reported significantly longer turnaround time on their accounts receivable.

But if the transition is handled effectively, those bumps in the road should be short-term. If nothing else, the pending coding changes underscores the value of outsourcing your medical billing needs to a medical practice management company.