More and more insurance carriers are encouraging not only EFT, electronic funds transfer, but also ERAs, electronic remittance advice. Some of us are still trying to figure out the difference. EFT is strictly the transferring of funds being paid by the insurance carrier into the provider’s bank account instead of mailing them a paper check. ERAs are when the explanation of benefits statement (EOB) are received in an electronic format instead of a paper EOB. Once the ERA is downloaded you can then print out a paper copy.
I personally love both the EFT and the ERAs. No longer do we have “the check wasn’t cashed so we put a stop payment on it and will reissue a new one.” We have just a couple of our providers who are just a bit unorganized and seemed to have quite a few “lost” checks. EFT is really convenient for those providers.
ERAs are really nice if your system is set up for autoposting. You still have to check things over but it really cuts down on the data entry. And ERAs are easily stored on your system which makes it easy to go back and access. No more pawing through a paper file of eobs searching for the right one to attach to your secondary claim.
As with electronic claims submission, we are starting to see more and more carriers beginning to require EFT and ERAs. Medicare requires EFT currently but not ERA. You can have one without the other. NYS Medicaid has also announced that they will be mandating them as will. I think we will continue to see more.