A new MetLife policy requires dentists to receive their reimbursements electronically, but after the ADA contacted the company, it clarified its position that dentists can opt out if they do not have the technology available.
MetLife mailed participating dentists a letter on Aug. 15 notifying them that, as of Sept. 15, electronic funds transfer will be the only method of reimbursement and that dentists are required to enroll before that date. The company contended that receiving reimbursements electronically was faster and more secure than the paper method.
By enrolling for electronic funds transfer, dentists will also stop receiving explanation of benefits statements within 31 days. Dentists can view EOBs online by registering for MetLife's website.
After receiving the letter, the ADA Practice Institute began receiving calls from members questioning the policy change. ADA staff immediately contacted MetLife relaying the concerns, specifically that some dental offices use practice management systems that are not fully equipped to handle end-to-end electronic claims processing.
"The ADA understands the benefits that electronic funds transfer payments can offer a dental practice," said Dr. Ronald Riggins, chair of the ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs. "However, dental offices have reported problems matching electronic payments to explanation of benefits statements, ensuring that accurate electronic deposits are made and reconciling electronic funds transfer deposits into practice management software. Until these issues are resolved, dentists should have the freedom to choose whether they want to receive electronic funds transfer payments or paper checks."
MetLife responded to the ADA's inquiry and agreed that some offices may not yet be equipped to handle this change and those who can't are able to choose to opt out of receiving reimbursements electronically.
This article was written by By Kelly Soderlund. The full article can be found at http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2016-archive/october/metlife-requires-electronic-reimbursement