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ERA - Electronic Remittance Advice

ERA: The New Standard?

A Brief History

In June of 2006, Medicare implemented a new policy in which Explanations of Benefits (EOBs) would no longer be sent to providers on paper with a check. Instead, EOB files would be transmitted electronically, except in the case of small offices that met certain criteria.

This took many providers by surprise, and they found themselves with payments but no information with which to post them. They had been transmitting electronically, but had not been receiving EOBs electronically.

When EOBs are transmitted electronically, they are known as ERA files, for Electronic Remittance Advice. In most cases, Medicare sent the ERA files to the clearinghouse the provider was already using. This did little good, since the providers weren't enrolled for ERA services with the clearinghouse, and the claims went to an electronic “black hole.”

Most practices have made it through this process by signing up for ERA services with their clearinghouse so they can retrieve their missing files. Now that this temporary crisis is over, there is some time to reflect on the bigger picture.

The Present and Future

After many years in this industry, we've learned that Medicare often starts new trends which everyone else follows after a short delay. This means since Medicare is now on a (mostly) ERA-only policy, other insurance companies ("payers") will likely follow.

We feel it's safe to say ERA will be soon be the industry standard, and paper claims and EOBs will disappear completely. Already, you cannot submit any paper claims to Medicare. It's only a matter of time before other companies follow suit.

Call 877-450-4029 for ERA services

Why should you switch now? That depends – are you willing to wait until the last minute and be forced into a change? Most of our customers who've been through the recent Medicare crisis would tell you they wish they knew ahead of time. So this is your chance. You know what's coming, and as Louis Pasteur said, "Chance favors the prepared mind." You don't want to be missing information when you need it – in the 21st century that can bring a business to its knees. A single missing EOB can mean you can't post payments totaling many thousands of dollars.

Beside the apparent inevitability of ERA, there's also the matter of convenience. Lytec 2005 and later can autopost your ERA files. Once they're received, Lytec can interpret the files and apply them to your bills according to your instructions. Why post everything manually when the software can do it for you?

Call us today about signing up for ERA services. Or if you already have a clearinghouse, call us for help on using those ERA files you already have. You will be glad you did – you will save time and money and you'll be better prepared for the future.


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