Forms of Reimbursement – Electronic Vs. Paper

Many insurance companies are moving away from paper checks and toward electronic reimbursement. A provider typically has to have access to a payer’s online portal in order to successfully manage the claims filing process. We learned that many of you still opt for paper checks for a variety of reasons. Which do you prefer? 

Getting Paid

You have several options for how you get paid by insurance companies. Until recently, the default was getting paper checks via mail. Now, most insurance companies offer direct deposit. We recommend setting up a business-only bank account and having your payments sent via direct deposit, as it typically makes bookkeeping a little easier. “Each [insurance company] generally allows you to self-select what method you prefer - direct deposit or paper,” offers RDN Amy Plano

Generally, you’ll receive payments faster when using electronic funds transfer (EFT) than you would with paper checks. EFT is also more secure and unaffected by changes to your practice location.

To sign up for direct deposit, you can either have Healthy Bytes handle the work for you or reach out to provider services for each insurance company for instructions. Some insurance companies use third parties, such as Payspan, to manage these payments; others will be able to set you up directly.

RDN Carrie Weitzel with Colorado Nutrition Counseling, LLC, receives checks from BCBS and UHC even though she is in the process of applying for EFT. She suggests being patient during this process as it can take time! Ingrid Knight, with RD and Associates, concurs: “Just like all insurance enrollments, each one does EFT enrollment differently. You still have to look at the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) to determine where the money came from.”

RDN Insights – Electronic vs. Paper

We wanted to know – are funds coming to you in the form of direct deposit? Paper check? We asked you which you prefer and why.

Sophia Kamveris, RDN, shared, “Ninety-nine percent of my [claims] are paid electronically through Payspan. I was getting paper with Cigna but I just signed up for their electronic funds transfer to go directly to my bank. I actually prefer logging into one central system. At the end of the month, I line my EOB up against my bank statement. The nice part of Payspan is you don’t have to hold onto the paper EOBs. I’m in MA so the state reimbursement still comes as a paper check.”

Amy Plano opts for paper checks instead. “You receive a copy of the EOBs along with the checks…I like having a 'hard' copy of the EOB to review.” 

Judy Matusky, RDN, based in Philadelphia, prefers the paper checks as well. “My reimbursement is always paper checks from all my insurance companies with an EOB,” she says. 

Other forms of Electronic Payment

Various insurance companies are now mailing debit cards to RDNs as a form of reimbursement. Sometimes these cards come with a fee to receive your payment. Shena Jaramillo, RDN, notes that she filled out an electronic transfer form when she contracted with each insurance company. “I received an electronic debit card and immediately called to get checks instead. I think EnrollHub does something to get you electronic checks but I find it difficult to get enrolled. I am happy with paper checks instead.” 

Amy Plano agrees: “As for the 'debit card' forms of payment - all you need to do is call the carrier noted on the payment form and let them know you want to opt out from the current [form of] payment.” 

You can always reach out to us here at Healthy Bytes with your reimbursement questions: hello@healthybytes.co or 1.844.4RD.BILL.

Please chime in – are you receiving paper checks as your preferred form of reimbursement? Electronic? Which do you prefer and why?