Are you losing money from virtual credit card payment fees?

August 29, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Payor Issues and Reimbursement Practice Management 

If your practice accepts virtual credit card (VCC) payments from payors, you put yourself at risk of losing a significant amount of your contractual reimbursement to high interchange fees.

When paying claims, some payors have shifted from paper checks to electronic payment methods, including payor-issued VCCs. With this method, a payor sends credit card payment information and instructions to physicians, who process the payments using standard credit card technology.

This method is beneficial to payors, but costly for physicians. Health plans often receive cash-back incentives from credit card companies for VCC transactions. Meanwhile, VCC payments are subject to transaction and interchange fees, which are born by the physician practice and can run as high as 5 percent per transaction for physician practices.

The American Medical Association (AMA) is offering a free webinar aimed at educating physician practices on the pitfalls of electronic payments, including VCCs. The webinar, “Stop Paying to Get Paid: Effective Electronic Payments,” will provide attendees with knowledge of electronic payments, an overview of the implications of accepting virtual credit card payments and an introduction on how to implement the new HIPAA standard electronic funds transfer (EFT) transactions in their practices, which can save practices money.

The free webinar takes place on Tuesday, September 16, at 9 a.m. PST, the and also offers one hour of continuing medical education credit.

For more information on electronic payments and avoiding high fees, including a VCC tip sheet, see AMA's EFT toolkit and "The effect of health plan virtual credit card payments on physician practices."

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