MNeConnect Facilitates Electronic Claims Submission, Reduces Costs, and Improves Efficiency for Minnesota Healthcare Providers
September 13, 2009 — The first time Dr. Eric Bailey O.D. logged on to MNeConnect to file health insurance claims online, he wondered what took so long — not for the claims to process, or to receive the check. Instead, Dr. Bailey wondered why such a system hadn’t been made available to him sooner.
“Most practitioners have been waiting for something like this for years,” he says. “It’s the perfect fit — an identical replica of the paper 1500 that’s easy to use.”
Dr. Bailey has been practicing optometry in Monticello, Minnesota, for 22 years. He currently works as an independent contractor at a Target® optical location. In the past, he has also served as an information technology advisor for state health care practitioners.
“I’ve used just about every billing solution offered,” he says. At times, Dr. Bailey has employed up to five people to conduct his billing paperwork. He describes the overhead costs as prohibitive, particularly when billing through a clearinghouse — a claims processing service that often serves hundreds of health plans, and is prone to render errors when pushing claims to payers. “The clearinghouse is just a middleman between you and the health plan, who hinders communication and wants a share of your profits.”
When the Minnesota Council of Health Plans announced the launch of MNeConnect, a free, online claims filing tool powered by IGI Health, Dr. Bailey was relieved to finally have a system that didn’t require excessive, upfront investment.
The MCHP selected IGI Health to build MNeConnect to help healthcare providers meet Minnesota’s recently passed mandate for state-wide electronic insurance claims submission. The law, referred to as the E3 initiative, calls for a formal adherence to HIPAA standards by enforcing the standardization of data and transmission of that data through electronic means.
Making the transition can be a scary prospect for small providers who haven’t computerized their billing systems.
“I’ve found MNeConnect to be simple and intuitive,” Dr. Bailey says. “You don’t need a degree from a technical college to use it. And it’s quick — MNeConnect has given me much more time to spend with my patients.”
Dr. Bailey registered to use MNeConnect and began filing claims through the system in July. Since then, he’s reduced his revenue cycle by half: He takes five minutes to file the claim himself while the patient is still in the office. In the past, each paper claim would require a minimum of 15 minutes, and were frequently rejected due to processing errors.
“I haven’t had a claim rejected because of processing errors since I started using MNeConnect,” Dr. Bailey says. “My payments are deposited directly into my account within 14 days.”
He is quick to praise other features of the system, such as its portability: Since MNeConnect is a web-based solution, providers are no longer chained to the office in order to file claims. Patient information can be stored within the system’s database and accessed with just a single click of the mouse. And since the information is stored in an off-site data storage location (what is often referred to as the “cloud”), providers no longer need to worry about damaging hard drive crashes that could debilitate an entire practice.
“MNeConnect has put me back in the trenches of my cash flow,” Dr. Bailey says. “I am now able to step back, take a look at my business model and practices, and better serve my patients.”