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Aetna, Change Healthcare partner on Aetna Pay to collect patient payments faster

Aetna Pay has shown results of close to $10 million in payments in three months by delivering a simplified bill that's easier to understand.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

LAS VEGAS  - Aetna and Change Healthcare are collaborating on a bill paying system that is helping providers collect money for the revenue cycle operation faster by making it easier for patients to understand the charges. 

Aetna Pay, which runs on a Change Healthcare chassis, wades through the "consumer morass" for patients trying to understand their bill, said Erin Hatzikostas, president of PayFlex for Aetna.

[Also: California Department of Insurance is investigating Aetna's claims and request for prior authorization policies]

Instead of just getting an explanation of benefits, which consumers often mistake as a bill anyway, patients get an adjudicated bill.

"As an Aetna member, instead of getting an EOB, now from Aetna I'm getting claims adjudicated and ready to pay," said Stuart Hanson, senior vice president of Consumer Payment Solutions for Change Healthcare.

[Also: DOJ wants more information on $69 billion CVS Health and Aetna merger]

The reason consumers don't pay their bill right away is usually not because of the money, according to Hatzikostas, but because they don't understand the charges.

If the system isn't so clunky and cumbersome for patients to understand, the provider gets paid faster, she said.

[Also: JAMA: EHRs fail to reduce administrative billing costs]

It's that consumer-focused switch healthcare has been talking about, for patients to understand the cost of care.

Currently the program is for Aetna members, using Change's data chassis called the Smart Pay Financial Network, according to Hanson.

Collections typically take 3-5 months to process and only 17 percent of bills are collected, according to Hatzikostas. 

Aetna Pay has shown results of close to $10 million in payments in three months. The system was launched as a beta test in November, building on Aetna's success with the consumer system PayFlex and Money Square for Health in 2014.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

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