New data found that more than 306.7 million automated clearing house (ACH) electronic funds transfer (EFT) payments were made from health plans to healthcare providers last year.
The new figures from NACHA — The Electronic Payments Association have shown an increase of 11.5 percent from 2017. That is more than double the number of payments made in 2014, which is when the EFT standard rule — requiring that all health plans pay providers by ACH upon request — took effect.
The value of 2018’s payments came in at $1.59 trillion, up more than 10 percent from the year before, and an increase of over 80 percent from 2014.
“Many of America’s healthcare providers are experiencing the benefits of receiving claim payments by ACH,” NACHA Chief Operating Officer Jane Larimer, said in a press release. “Providers are realizing that automated ACH deposits are cheaper and faster than manually processing checks or virtual credit cards.”
In fact, CAQH, a nonprofit alliance of health plans and trade associations, reported that the healthcare industry could save an additional $450 million each year if the remaining manual claim payments are converted to ACH.
“In 2019, NACHA encourages all healthcare providers to request that claim payments be made via ACH,” said Larimer.
In November, NACHA revealed that ACH payments totaled to more than 5.6 billion in the third quarter of 2018, a 6.7 percent increase, driven partly by business-to-business (B2B) and online payments.
“The ACH network is thriving,” Larimer said at the time. “Governments, financial institutions, businesses and consumers are all reaping the benefits the ACH network provides.”
In late July, NACHA said debit and credit transactions reached more than 5.7 billion in the second quarter of 2018, a 6.2 percent increase and one of its highest growth rates since 2008. NACHA added that the data is proof that ACH payments are being embraced by businesses and consumers around the globe.