Discover all you need to know about the upcoming changes
Invoice Clearing Service Charges
The third national lockdown is causing a lot of uncertainty and challenges for the industry, but we are now in a position whereby postponing the implementation of the invoice Clearing Service charges for healthcare practitioners and clinics is not feasible in the longer term.
We are planning to introduce the charges on the 1st April 2021 but may need to change the date due to the current situation. We will keep you updated and will give you at least one month’s notice.
What is changing?
For the last 20 years, we have provided a validation and clearing service for electronic invoicing free of charge. We will be introducing a charge for the validation and clearing service for electronic invoicing.
Why is it changing?
To secure the future of electronic billing and ensure it is sustainable. When we started the free electronic bills clearing service in 2002, we could not have imagined we would be processing and clearing more than 3million electronic bills each year by 2012, and by 2019 this has more than doubled to over 7million, accounting for more than £3.3bn revenue for the sector. Whilst volumes fell during the pandemic we are already seeing a significant recovery since lockdown restrictions were eased.
As the invoice clearing hub for the whole industry, the clearing system must continue to be secure and up to date with all compatible software, web security standards and data security compliance.
Maintaining this vital link between practitioners and insurers is expensive and requires technical expertise, compatibility and ever-increasing compliance and server security.
With rising demands, the service must be commercially viable long term to ensure we are are able to continue to support our customers now and in the future, and to secure the viability of electronic billing.
It is in the interests of all customers that Healthcode’s future is built on strong foundations. If we are to continue to secure the future of electronic validation and clearing at a reasonable price for everyone, we must start charging a fair rate for the service, instead of funding it through other areas of our business.
Who is affected?
All customers that use Healthcode’s electronic bill Clearing Service will be affected. When the charges are implemented customers will require a subscription to our Clearing Service.
How much will I be charged?
To continue using the service you will be charged a basic fee of £6.99 per month per practitioner for Healthcode's electronic bill Clearing Service, plus a transaction fee of 25p per validated bill. These charges will apply to all users of the Clearing System, including ePractice customers, as well as those who access our service using third-party practice management software.
New ePractice subscription plans
Available from 12th October 2020
Feedback from customers has helped us gain a better insight into their experience of Healthcode, their practice needs, and how they feel Healthcode can support them. The responses helped us understand the challenges of running a successful private healthcare business that exceeds the expectations of patients, operates efficiently across one or multiple locations, and complies with more stringent regulations on data protection and information transparency.
We will be introducing three new subscription plans that will replace our existing ePractice packages.
This plan offers the basic functionality required to create and submit an invoice.
An improved entry-level service by which customers can manage all their billing and collection activities for PMIs, self-funded patients, and other payors. It is best for startups to help you keep control with real-time visibility over your financial transactions, income, and cash flow. It includes tools to help you record payments, reduce bad debt, and a time-saving tool to verify patients’ PMI membership.
A complete practice management service that puts you in control of financial and administrative tasks and gives you access to your business data all from one platform. In addition to the features to help you manage your patient records and financial transactions, ePractice Pro also includes diary & appointment scheduling, letters and SMS text messaging, real-time reporting, and clinical coding tools.
All ePractice plans including the free to access ePractice Basic, include integration with the Healthcode
Clearing Service which will be charged at £6.99 per month per practitioner plus £0.25 per validated and cleared invoice.
Independent practitioners have never been charged for submitting their electronic bills to insurers through Healthcode’s secure online clearing system. However, this free service is no longer sustainable because of the rapidly growing level of demand. In 2019, we processed over 7million invoices, including 4million from practitioners and clinics and 2.9million from hospitals, which represents an increase of 31% on three years ago.
To support these exceptional bill volumes and protect sensitive personal and financial data on behalf of practitioners and patients, Healthcode maintains the highest standards of technology and information security. However, the service must be commercially viable so we can continue investing in these essential and important areas.
In setting a monthly direct debit for our electronic bill Clearing Service, we have made every effort to ensure that all practitioners get the best possible value for money. Plus, you will continue to benefit from the established benefits of electronic billing.
Cost-saving : electronic billing eliminates printing, postage and manpower costs associated with paper billing.
Accurate and efficient: details are checked on submission of the electronic bill to ensure it meets the relevant insurer’s rules, avoiding time-consuming queries.
Healthy cash flow: validated electronic bills are ready for processing and payment so they reach insurers’ payment cycle quicker.
Convenient one-stop-shop for electronic billing: create and submit electronic bills to all the major PMIs from one place.
Data security: electronic bills submitted through Healthcode are encrypted to internet banking standards to protect financial and patient data.
Reassurance: You know as soon as your electronic bill has been received by the insurer, because the bill status is displayed on the system.
Free Customer support centre
Healthcode was established in 2000 as the official clearing company for medical bills but we are more than a billing service. Over the years, our technological expertise has seen us take a leading role in developing industry coding and billing standards, as well as developing a range of specialised products and services to support independent practitioners which are available in one place on our secure online platform. These include electronic billing, clearing of electronic invoices, practice management, secure messaging and file sharing, clinical coding tools, and most recently, The Private Practice Register, where practitioners can maintain their own specialist profile and data.
Our ambition is to help healthcare professionals and organisations streamline administrative processes and work together more effectively. This is the future for both the Clearing Service and for Healthcode as a technology company at the heart of the private healthcare sector and is essential to the future success of the sector itself.
The adoption of electronic billing has been a positive step for the whole sector, including practitioners. To make it easier, Healthcode facilitates the industry by enabling you to submit electronic bills to all leading PMIs from one secure platform. Any anomalies are flagged immediately based on the specific insurer rules, this means you or your secretary don't have to remember which insurer requires what. Not only is electronic billing more secure and more efficient than traditional paper billing but it is better for your practice cashflow as electronic bills are automatically validated on submission, so they are ready for processing and payment on receipt. This means the insurer receives it quicker and,dependent on the payment cycle, invoices can be paid as soon as one week. In addition, this also benefits the patient by removing the financial stress.
Around 22,000 practitioners have an account with Healthcode and bill electronically; this ensures they can avoid delays paper billing may have such as a postal strike or other unforeseen circumstances. Our ePractice Basic plan will also include electronic billing for other types of payors to further help improve your processes.
Healthcode was established and continues to exist to drive operational efficiency across the industry; profit maximisation has never been the main purpose of the business. We made our Clearing Service available free of charge to independent practitioners to ensure they could reap the benefits, including efficiency savings, better cash flow and reassurance of data security compliance and back office support i.e. technology and data security upgrades are carried out behind the scenes at no extra cost to you.
Historically, Private Medical Insurers (PMIs) have borne the cost of the clearing of medical invoices as well as it being funded by Healthcode through other activities. PMIs will continue to bear the cost of the clearing of medical invoices, however increased customer and billing volumes means we have now reached the stage where a free service is simply no longer sustainable. In setting the subscription rate, we have made every effort to ensure that practitioners benefit from features and the best possible value for money. At £6.99 per month, this represents just 42 minutes worktime of an administrator earning the national minimum wage of £8.72 per hour. The Clearing Service saves practitioners administrative time and cost by validating and clearing invoices quickly and simply.
The monthly fee will offer you peace of mind - it's more secure than the post, it will provide visibility the insurer has collected the invoice, and you continue to benefit from quicker payment as it reaches the payment cycle quicker. For each bill validated successfully, i.e. cleared, there is a charge of £0.25. These charges are subject to VAT and don't forget you can claim this cost as it's an expense to your practice business.
As well as submitting validated bills to all the major insurers from one platform, you can use the service to generate bills for self-funded patients and other types of payors. Remittances returned from insurers are made available on your Healthcode account to help you identify payments. ePractice Lite and ePractice Pro includes enhanced features with practice management capability to enable you to work more efficiently saving administration time and costs from one platform.
As a new entrant or an established practitioner, you can also access your PPR profile under the one Healthcode login.
Data information security
As we process both sensitive and commercial data, information security is at the heart of Healthcode’s operation and you can be confident that we have the necessary controls in place to protect your sensitive patient-identifiable data.
Back office support
Technology and security upgrades are carried out behind the scenes at no extra cost to you.
Resources and support
As part of your ePractice subscription a host of videos are available to help and guide you through how to create and submit an invoice. New releases are accompanied with release notes communicated to you via email. Our experienced customer service team is also on hand to support you and your practice.
It is important that independent practitioners have the best possible experience of Healthcode. In the first place, that means ensuring our services are reliable, robust and secure with 24-hour data back-up and recovery. In 2019, we restricted downtime to less than 1%.
At the same time, customers who need to contact us are entitled to expect a professional and responsive service. In this respect, we have invested significantly in the tools the team uses to enable better information for training our customer service team. On average the team deals with 5,000 calls a month.
The software is used to create the invoice for submission to our Clearing Service which performs checks on the invoice content based on insurer specific rules. The monthly subscription fee for this service is £6.99 + VAT and a charge of 25p + VAT per cleared invoice. At this fee, as well as validation, you will also continue to benefit from:
- rejection and flagging of invoice content where it does not meet the validation rules
- confirmation that your bill has been validated and collected by the insurer which means this will reach their payment cycle quicker and ultimately improve cash flow
- cost savings on printing, production and postage
- data security – electronic bills submitted through Healthcode’s invoice Clearing service is encrypted to protect both financial and patient data
- the ability to submit your invoices to multiple insurers from one secure platform
- view and print remittances (where the insurer has made this information available)
Invoice Clearing Service is fully integrated with all our ePractice software subscriptions which have been developed to help independent practitioners manage their practice administrative and financial tasks more efficiently. More information on the individual software subscriptions can be viewed here.
Watch Video below.
The subscription fee (where applicable) is in addition to the £6.99 + VAT for the invoice Clearing Service. Most current systems are compliant with Healthcode's billing standards and do not require any re-keying of patient data or invoice details. A list of those systems can be viewed here.
The Clearing Service subscription is the same for all practitioners and has been set at £6.99 per month per practitioner plus 25 per cleared invoice (excludes VAT). The subscription is set up on a rolling direct debit basis and can be cancelled and re-subscribed at any time. The below cost grid provides a snapshot of the cost by the monthly invoice volume.
Bills validated and cleared per month
|Total monthly cost||£9.49||£13.24||£19.49||£25.74||£31.99||£69.49|
|Average cost per bill||£0.95||£0.53||£0.39||£0.34||£0.32||£0.28|
As these charges are associated with running your private practice they are therefore 100% allowable as a business expense, and thereby will be offset against tax.
The charges are planned for November 2020. We will be writing to you nearer the time providing you with further details of what you'll need to do to ensure there is no interruption to your service. At the same time, we will confirm the date the Clearing Service charges will commence which will also be published on our website.
The Clearing Service subscription is the same for all practitioners. The £6.99 per month subscription plus 25p per cleared invoice reflects just a proportion of the costs incurred to run and maintain the service. These charges will apply to all healthcare providers of the Clearing System (including ePractice customers, as well as those who access our service using third-party practice management system).
If you need to request new login details, please complete the form at: https://www.veda.healthcode.co.uk/prelogin/login_request/loginrequest_site.jsp
Follow the below steps to complete the form:
• Role field: Select "Other (find with SiteID)" and enter your account number: [SITE ID]
• Access Levels: select HC VEDA
• Select Basic Billing Access
Once you have returned your completed form, we will issue your user credentials to enable you to log in to your account.
Healthcode, by industry, for industry
Healthcode is a leading provider of IT services and solutions for the private healthcare sector. We deliver integrated online solutions on one secure online platform, allowing for time efficiency, robust data security and compliance.
Delivering Users Value for Money
Healthcode are the most competitive with prices in the Private Healthcare Market for Billing and Practice Management. Ensure you get the best value.
Continuously Developing our Systems
Healthcode are committed to developing and engaging with affiliates to provide customers with value through one integrated system.
Ensuring Time and Efficiency Saving
ePractice is designed to save time and make your practice run efficiently and effectively. Healthocde ensures the system is updated and modern.
Connecting Key Industry Players
Healthcode systems bring together key industry stakeholders; practitioners, insurers, and hospitals. Stay connected via one online platform.
Commitment to Data Security and Compliance
Encrypted to online banking standards. Healthcode offers you peace of mind by taking care of your back-office management.