Cost of Billing

May 1, 2004

Can you give me some insight on cost per transaction for electronic claims filing? Is it really cheaper than paper filing?

Question: Can you give me some insight on cost per transaction for electronic claims filing? Is it really cheaper than paper filing?

Answer: The average cost of billing is $5 to $7 per service.

I haven't been able to pinpoint the cost of an electronic transmission of a claim. The transmission itself - if direct to a carrier - is zero. However, some carriers won't accept them directly, and some practices choose to go through a clearinghouse. Those claims normally cost zero to $1 to send, so one could use an average of 50 cents if you were just trying to evaluate this process.

Of course, the primary advantage of an electronic claim doesn't have anything to do with cost; it has to do with cash flow and the time-value of money. An electronic transmission can get to the carrier faster, meaning that the practice gets paid two or three weeks faster than if it had sent a paper claim. This is not really a "cost" per se, but it's certainly a benefit.