Thanks to on-going efforts by the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) and the AMA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently clarified that the preferred method for receiving payments from health plans is electronic funds transfer (EFT) through the automated clearing house (ACH) network. Some practices have reported being charged credit card processing fees by their health plan even after requesting the standard EFT payment format as required under rules that took effect on January 1, 2014.
While other methods are permissible if they comply with HIPAA, EFT-ACH is the method CMS encourages providers to use. They also cautioned that a health plan may not offer incentives to use an alternate payment method or charge fees, as some health plans have been doing through their use of credit card payments.
The clearly stated standard payment policy from CMS is outlined in their FAQs, here. CMS advises providers to carefully analyze their agreements with health plans to be aware of any added fees.