Online payment portals: Physicians beware

November 05, 2013
Area(s) of Interest: Payor Issues and Reimbursement Practice Management 

Recently, a number of payors have begun to offer online payment portals that allow patients to pay for physician services via the Internet. Physicians should be aware, however, that while these online payment portals typically do not charge setup fees for participating, physicians will be assessed a per transaction fee, similar to the transaction fees associated with credit card or merchant transactions.

Aetna, for example, partnered with Citi to provide an online patient health care payment option called Money² for Health. This online payment tool will allow patients to securely pay for physician services through the Aetna Navigator member website. For physicians who have signed up to participate in Money² for Health, patient payments will be electronically transferred into your designated accounts.

United Healthcare (UHC) has also recently instituted a similar online portal through Instamed. Through the myClaims Manager selection on the www.myuhc.com website, members can now elect to make payments to their medical providers.

Physicians should also be aware that non-participation in these programs does not necessarily prohibit patients from continuing to pay through the portal. For instance, the UHC/Instamed program will still allow patients to make payments to physicians who have chosen to not participate in the program. In lieu of an electronic funds transfer to the physician’s bank account, Instamed will issue a hardcopy check to the physician instead. However, the issuance of the hardcopy check does not alleviate the physician from being required to pay a reduced transaction fee. CMA has inquired further with United about physician options to avoid any transaction fees.


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