Administrative Costs Associated with Physician Billing and Insurance-Related Activities at an Academic Health Care System

Published in JAMA, the following study examines the administrative costs associated with billing and insurance-related activities at an academic health care system with a certified electronic health record system. Interviews were conducted with 27 health system administrators and 34 physicians in 2016 and 2017 to construct a process map charting the path of an insurance claim through the revenue cycle management process. These data were used to calculate the cost for each major billing and insurance-related activity and were aggregated to estimate the health system’s total cost of processing an insurance claim. The estimated costs of billing and insurance-related activities ranged from $20 for a primary care visit to $215 for an inpatient surgical procedure. Knowledge of how specific billing and insurance-related activities contribute to administrative costs may help inform policy solutions to reduce these expenses.

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