There seems to be a new trend with insurance payments. Some insurance carriers are now issuing what they call virtual credit cards. What is a virtual credit card you may be wondering? Well it’s basically a picture on the EOB that resembles a credit card that contains a one-time use number to allow the provider to be reimbursed for their services electronically. The problem is that the provider or the person who handles the EOBs must recognize that the payment is being made by virtual credit card.
If the person handling the EOB does not recognize the payment information as being a virtual credit card they may simply post the EOB and file it, not realizing that they must use the information on the virtual credit card to obtain the payment. Many providers have systems that don’t allow them to enter payments without accounting for the funds, however there are still many providers out there who do not have systems to protect them from these accounting errors. If this is the case they may be filing away money that should be deposited into their bank account.
The problem with the virtual credit cards is that they can be easy to overlook. If the person is unfamiliar with them they may go unnoticed. And if the payment gets posted in the system then they will be recorded as paid even though the provider didn’t actually get the money. Virtual credit card numbers must be run through the providers’ credit card system so that the provider can receive the funds.
There are companies out there providing the service of issuing the virtual credit cards to providers on behalf of insurance carriers. The insurance carriers are saving money on not creating and mailing paper checks. The virtual credit card companies are making their percentage whenever the virtual credit cards are redeemed. And now the providers are bearing some of these expenses.
So what can a provider do? Well if they have the ability to accept credit cards then they can simply put the virtual credit through their credit card system. If they do not want to do that, or if they are unable to accept credit card payments (yes, there are still some out there) they can refuse the virtual credit card. Most of these companies will continue to issue paper checks if the provider calls and informs them that they will not accept the virtual credit cards. I do think that somewhere in the future they will find a way to mandate that providers accept them but for now that is not the case.
The one thing for sure is that they cannot simply be ignored. The payment either needs to be run through the credit card system to process it, or the insurance carrier needs to be contacted so that they payment can be received in an alternate manner. Don’t let your office lose money by overlooking these payments and not processing them.