Radiology business leaders urge suspension of ‘timely filing’ requirements until COVID crisis clears

The Radiology Business Management Association is urging commercial insurers across the U.S. to suspend “timely filing” requirements for claims until the COVID crisis clears.

RBMA noted that practices are typically required to submit payment requests to insurers within 180 days to be considered for reimbursement. However, given widespread economic challenges that have left practices and payers short-staffed, with most employees working from home, the association is asking for a relief from such cumbersome restraints.

“The physician practice community is accustomed to meeting timely filing requirements,” RBMA Executive Director Robert Still said in a letter, sent to the head of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners last month. “As we move through this period of national emergency, this timeframe will become more difficult. Physician practices should not be penalized.”

Still told Radiology Business that his letter has similarly been shared with state-level insurance commissioners, and he spoke with NAIC leaders last week on behalf of the imaging industry. He said the association of insurance commissioners has been receptive to removing these barriers for both payers and providers, and a dialogue continues.  

RBMA estimates that practices have seen a roughly 60% downturn in imaging volume during the pandemic, with widespread postponements of nonurgent imaging. The group is asking for the relaxation of timely filing requirements until all emergency declarations are lifted by both state and federal regulators.

“Revenue Cycle management is an area that is just now getting some focus as these COVID cases wind through the system,” Still told Radiology Business Friday. “As we move away from the most critical clinical stage of COVID-19, the issues related to billing and collections will persist. RBMA will continue to monitor these issues and seek guidance from both CMS and commercial health insurance payers so that patients will not be caught in the middle, and accounts will be adjudicated properly,” he added later.