Posted: March 19, 2004

Insurance Commissioner candidate Matt Denn announced an ambitious plan today to reduce medical costs in Delaware by eliminating much of the paperwork that insurance companies require health care providers to complete in order to be paid.

“Reducing health care providers’ paperwork costs is not a miracle cure for the problem of high health care costs,” Denn said.  “But it will make a difference—and with health care costs rising as fast as they are, even small improvements are important.”           

Denn’s plan, modeled on a successful plan implemented by the Texas Insurance Commissioner, calls for Delaware to change its “clean claims” regulations, which govern how long insurance companies have to pay health care providers’ bills.

The Denn plan would prevent insurance companies from repeatedly requesting additional information from health care providers before paying their bills, assuming that the health care providers had provided the basic payment information required by state law.  Denn’s plan also contains provisions to ensure that insurance companies are treated fairly and are not required to pay for services which they do not cover.           

“When we visit our doctor, we see firsthand the enormous amount of staff time that doctors’ offices devote to getting paid by insurance companies.  We are paying for that staff time through higher medical bills.  My plan will reduce the amount of time that health care providers spend jumping through bureaucratic hoops, and it will be one step in controlling our health care costs.” 

Doctor Steven L. Edell, Director of the Women’s Imaging Center of Delaware, praised Denn’s plan, saying “I think that this plan will let doctors cut through the bureaucratic red tape, and run their offices more efficiently.” 

Denn noted that the state currently has “prompt payment” rules on the books, but that they are virtually meaningless because they contain so many loopholes.