Credit Balances
Apr 3, 2023

How to Prevent Medicare Overpayments

Improper Medicare/Medicaid payments put healthcare providers at risk, managing and preventing them should be a top priority.

How to Prevent Medicare Overpayments

Medicare and Medicaid overpayments occur when healthcare providers receive more reimbursement than they are entitled. These overpayments can be costly and lead to severe compliance challenges. It is essential for healthcare providers to understand the causes of Medicare overpayments and take steps to avoid them. In this article, we will explore some strategies healthcare providers can implement to prevent Medicare and Medicaid overpayments.

Conduct Regular Self-Audits

Conducting regular audits is one of the best ways healthcare providers can avoid Medicare and Medicaid overpayments. Auditing a subset of claims can help identify overpayments, billing errors, and compliance issues before they escalate into larger problems. Providers should conduct internal audits and review their billing practices regularly to identify any potential issues. If they identify any true overpayments, they should refund them immediately.

Develop Detailed Credit Balance Reports

To effectively manage credits, and ultimately identify their root causes, healthcare providers need a single source of truth for all credit balance data. The best way to stay organized and empower their revenue cycle team is to develop detailed credit balance reports. These reports should include:

• The date the credit was identified (placement date)

• Current account age

• Account identifiers such as account number, MRN, etc.

• Current balance (negative)

• All involved payers

• All charges/transactions (DOS, MRN, etc.)

• Payments (Dates, Payor(s), amounts)

• And all other pertinent information...

Crossroads Health offers detailed reporting through our credit balance resolution technology, Crossfire™

Keep Up with Medicare and Medicaid Regulations

Keeping up with the latest Medicare and Medicaid regulations is essential for healthcare providers. These regulations change frequently, and it is important to stay informed about any changes that could affect billing practices. Providers can stay informed by attending conferences, seminars, and webinars, and regularly reviewing CMS publications and updates.

Verify Patient Information

Healthcare providers should verify patient information, including insurance coverage and eligibility, before providing services. Incorrect information can lead to billing errors and overpayments. Providers should check patient eligibility regularly to avoid submitting claims for patients who are no longer covered or have a change in coverage.

Implement Robust Billing Practices

Implementing robust billing practices is critical to avoiding Medicare and Medicaid overpayments. Providers should have systems in place to track claims and identify potential issues before they escalate. They should also have a process in place for identifying and resolving denials and/or underpayments.

Train and/or Retrain Billing Staff on Compliance

Training staff on compliance and billing practices is essential for avoiding overpayments. Staff should be aware of the latest Medicare and Medicaid regulations, as well as the billing practices of the organization such as proper documentation for code levels. Training should be conducted regularly and should include new hires, as well as refresher courses for current employees.

Stay Up to Date with Technology

Staying up to date with technology is crucial for healthcare providers. Technology can help streamline billing processes, reduce errors, and improve efficiency. Providers should explore and invest in the latest technology, such as electronic health records (EHRs), practice management software, and revenue cycle management tools.

In conclusion, Medicare and Medicaid overpayments can be costly and lead to compliance issues for healthcare providers. However, by following the above procedures, healthcare providers can avoid overpayments and ensure compliance with Medicare and Medicaid regulations. By taking these steps, providers will improve their financial performance and avoid costly mistakes.

Carolyn Morales
Carolyn Morales
Director of Operations
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