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Minnesota to require electronic health claims


ST. PAUL, Minn.--Minnesota will become the first state to require that all health care providers and insurers file claims electronically in a standard format beginning in 2009, the Minnesota Health Department announced Wednesday.

The provision was part of the 2007 Omnibus Health and Human Services funding bill signed into law last month. It applies to health plans, hospitals and all medical providers--including doctors, chiropractors and dentists--as well as to pharmacy claims, workers compensation claims, public programs such as Medicaid and medical claims filed in connection with auto insurance claims.

Under the law, the standardized format that will be used will be developed by a consortium of payers, providers and state agencies.

The law is intended to accelerate the adoption of electronic health transactions and allow more of every health care dollar to be spent on direct patient care. A 2006 state report on administrative simplification estimates the annual costs for just the telephone follow-up related to eligibility and claims in Minnesota is between $15.5 million and $21.8 million.

"Health care claims are twice as expensive to process when they are not submitted electronically, and even more costly if additional information or reviews are needed to process the claims," Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dianne Mandernach said in a statement.