The Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) policy written into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires health insurance companies to deliver more direct value to consumers by mandating that they spend a higher percentage of premium dollars collected on medical care, as opposed to administrative costs.
The new law requires that at least 85 percent of all premium dollars collected by insurance companies for large employer plans be spent on healthcare services and quality improvement. For plans sold to individuals and small employers, at least 80 percent of the premium must be spent on benefits and quality improvement. If insurance companies do not meet these goals because of administrative costs or high profits, they must provide rebates to consumers starting in 2012.
While much debate exists on if this is requirement is “fair,” those on both side of the argument can agree that any reduction in administrative costs is a step in the right direction, especially if it frees up dollars to be spent in areas that will directly impact members. Moving beyond politics and percentages, payers can save up to 30-50 percent in operating costs when working with a partner to streamline back office processes. Examples include:
- Claims processing, billing and provider maintenance: By outsourcing standard transactional services, payers can increase data quality and accelerate turnaround time on claims processing and lower costs.
- Enrollment processing: Payers can turn to partners to handle standard enrollment functions including setting up new member accounts, staffing call centers for member questions and issuing satisfaction surveys.
- Auditing solutions: Recovering funds from incorrectly paid claims is a service payers can outsource that can recoup funds by having an outsourcing partner track and even litigate wrongful payment claims on an insurance company’s behalf.
- Customer care: Using a partner to help communicate plan information and answer questions from members allows payers to focus on quality of care and new product introduction, while reducing costs and complying with regulatory demands.Continue reading…