2023 CAQH Index Report: Insights for Healthcare Providers

The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) released their annual index report earlier this month. Data from the 2023 CAQH index sheds light on electronic administrative transaction adoption rates, areas of waste and cost avoidance, and the impacts of medical staffing shortages. At UHIN, we’ve recognized similar, significant trends through our claims management, specifically in claims submission, claims status inquiry and electronic remittance advice (ERA).

Here are our points of view and takeaways from the 2023 report:

  1. Staffing shortages are a major issue
  2. Electronic adoption increased
  3. Cost and Time spent increased
  4. Collaboration & flexibility are critical
  5. Transaction findings:
    • Claims submission
    • Claims status
    • Eligibility and Benefits
    • ERA

1. Staffing shortages are a major issue

The COVID-19 pandemic strained the healthcare system, which led to significant staffing shortages that continue to impact the industry, especially for providers. The impact of the pandemic is felt most intensely in the time to conduct administrative tasks: 

  • Provider time to conduct transactions increased in 2023, on average, 14 percent which accounted for 77 percent of the increase in total medical spend.
  • For the second consecutive year, time to complete electronic transactions grew. While staffing issues and transaction volumes increased, providers required more time to commit administrative tasks. 

Staffing issues were felt in the hiring process as less experienced staff were onboarded who ”required more time to understand processes and requirements.”

Our MYUHIN billing and claim management solution helps ease the onboarding burden.  An intuitive platform like MYUHIN won’t require hours of training to get the job done. New staff can get started quicker and manage your revenue and cash flow better from the start. Tools like Templates and Drafts reduce the time to submit claims. Everything will just fall into place for you.

2. Adoption increased:

In the “new normal” – as CAQH defines this era – adoption of electronic administrative workflows continued to rise in 2023 on the heels of new processes put in place during the pandemic. Per CAQH: “Automated tasks provided flexibility to staff as work environments changed and adapted to a new normal.” These transactions saw the greatest electronic adoption rate:

  • Remittance advice increased from 83% to 88%
  • Eligibility and benefit verification increased from 90% to 94%
  • Electronic claim status inquiries increased from 72% to 74%
  • Claim submission increased from 97% to 98% (almost reaching full adoption)

We noticed a rise in electronic claims submission this year, as well. MYUHIN delivered its one millionth claim in tandem with the uptick in submission volume. We empower you to accelerate your claim submissions, check coverage and benefits of patients in real time, and facilitate status inquiries from payers. These are all critical components to your revenue and cash flow management. 

3. Cost and Time spent increased:

Per CAQH: “Despite the increase in electronic transactions and decrease in manual ones, overall spending on administrative tasks grew due to persistent staffing challenges impacting the time to conduct tasks.”

  • Provider time to conduct transactions increased 14% (on average), the second year that the time to complete electronic transactions has grown.
  • The amount of time for a provider to submit a claim can take up to 20 minutes for a paper claim and up to 10 minutes for an electronic claim.
  • Spending on claim submissions rose 67 percent to $19 billion 
  • Medical providers reported spending, on average, 24 minutes on manual claim status inquiry, costing approximately $12 per transaction – the highest time and cost among the transactions along with prior authorization.

For providers, you can save time by checking eligibility and submitting claims with MYUHIN. If you want to reduce costs (who doesn’t??), our value pricing makes your decision to switch billing solutions a snap.

“With the data and technologies available to us today, we have the power to transform the way we conduct the business of healthcare. However, as an industry, we must align around consistent processes that enable providers to minimize the time spent learning new workflows. This is particularly important given the current labor shortage.”

Erin Weber, Chief Policy and Research Officer at CAQH (via CAQH)

4. Collaboration and flexibility:

Looking ahead, the CAQH index report notes: “As staffing concerns are expected to continue, the industry needs to work together to identify solutions and best practices for time savings.” Claim submission data was particularly dysfunctional between providers and payers, driving an increase in claim denials in 2023. We all need to work together to address the challenges in the medical industry.

We believe in interoperability for all. Healthcare is complex and challenging. Healthcare silos are ingrained in the industry. Where fragmentation begins, quality of care decreases and costs rise. When UHIN looks at the fragmented nature of healthcare we know we need to act and be a force for change.

5. Let’s dig into the transaction analysis:

Claim submission:

  • $2.1 Billion in cost savings opportunity annually for electronic claim submission 
  • 5 minutes in time savings opportunity per transaction for electronic claim submission for providers

Claims status inquiry:

  • The number of claim status inquiries conducted increased by 19%
  • 17 minutes in estimated time savings opportunity per transaction
  • Medical providers reported spending, on average, 24 minutes conducting a manual claim status inquiry, costing approximately $12 per transaction – the highest time and cost among the transactions along with prior authorization
  • $3.2 Billion in cost savings opportunity annually for the medical industry

Eligibility and benefits:

  • Adoption of the electronic eligibility and benefit verification transaction increased 4 percentage points for the medical industry, one of the largest increases
  • Eligibility and benefit verification represents the highest volume transaction for the medical industry, accounting for 54% of all medical administrative transactions
  • 16 minutes in time savings opportunity annually for electronic eligibility and benefit verification for the medical industry
  • $9.3 Billion in cost savings opportunity annually

Electronic remittance advice:

  • Adoption increased to 88% (the highest increase among the transactions)
  • $701M in cost savings opportunity annually for electronic remittance advice for the medical industry
  • 5 minutes in time savings opportunity annually for electronic remittance advice for the medical industry
Read the full 2023 CAQH Index Report here.

Ready to start reducing administrative costs and time? Get in touch!


Unpacking the CAQH Index Report: Health Plan Optimization Through Electronic Administrative Transactions

The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) released their annual index earlier this month. Data from the 2023 CAQH index report sheds light on electronic administrative transaction adoption rates, time savings, cost avoidance, and the need for collaboration. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt across sectors, adding to the strain of increasing costs, decreasing cost savings opportunities and increasing time spent on administrative tasks. Yet, there’s still hope. At UHIN, we’ve recognized similarly significant trends in our Clearinghouse transactions and claims management, specifically in claims submission and electronic remittance advice (ERA), and offer solutions that can move health plans to a more positive outcome for themselves and their members.

Our most intriguing takeaways from the 2023 CAQH index report:

  1. Volume increased
  2. Cost avoidance opportunities persist
  3. Collaboration & flexibility will be key moving forward
  4. Certain transactions make a big impact:
    • Claims submission (ASC X12N 837: request to obtain payment or transmission of encounter information for the purpose of reporting delivery of healthcare services)
    • Remittance Advice (ASC X12N 835: an explanation from a health plan to a provider about a claim payment)

1. Volume increased

The index report highlights that electronic transaction volume increased, but for one notable exception, in 2023 (for both payers and providers).

  • Electronic claim submissions increased from 8,751 to 9,476 
  • Claim status inquiry increased from 2,254 to 2,820 
  • Only Electronic remittance advice decreased, moving from 2,499 last year to 2,080 in 2023, marking a 22% decrease

We facilitate each of these transactions and provide other valuable services, like EDI enrollment, to health plans. Since 1993, we’ve empowered our customers to provide better care and better costs to their members. To this day, we remain at the vanguard of electronic data interchange (EDI) and interoperability. Are you ready to learn more about our claims management solutions?

2. Cost avoidance opportunities persist:

Overall, the estimated medical industry spend increased from $55 Billion to more than $82 Billion, driven primarily by staffing shortages coupled with volume increases. In tandem, cost savings opportunities decreased to $16.4 Billion. The report reveals that $89 billion, or 22% of National Healthcare Expenditures in the U.S., is spent on administrative transactions, with potential savings of $18.3 billion through fully electronic transactions. Health plans can still save more than $140 million annually by automating transactions:

Savings opportunities:

  • $104 million with electronic claims submissions 
  • $38 million by moving to electronic remittance advice

It’s important to remember that you don’t need to sacrifice quality when decreasing costs. UHIN provides high quality electronic claims management services at a comparatively low cost. We’ve been doing this for health plans for more than three decades and remain dedicated to our mission: Better costs and better care.

3. Collaboration and flexibility are key:

Looking ahead, the CAQH index report notes that the “industry will need to collaborate and remain flexible in order to identify opportunities and best practices, and respond to emerging and consistent challenges and business needs.”

We couldn’t agree more. Healthcare is complex and challenging. When UHIN looks at the fragmented nature of healthcare we know we need to act and be a force for change. As a central, neutral, community-created organization, we bring together all players in the healthcare environment to create a more connected healthcare system.

“With the data and technologies available to us today, we have the power to transform the way we conduct the business of healthcare. However, as an industry, we must align around consistent processes that enable providers to minimize the time spent learning new workflows. This is particularly important given the current labor shortage.”

Erin Weber, Chief Policy and Research Officer at CAQH (via CAQH)

4. Let’s dig into the transaction analysis:

Claims submission:

  • $2.1 Billion in cost savings opportunity annually for electronic claims submission for providers and payers combined
  • While electronic spend on claims by plans decreased in 2023 (from $576 Million to $517 Million), the total of costs avoided increased (from $4.2 Billion to $5 Billion)

Electronic remittance advice:

  • Adoption increased five percentage points across the medical industry to 88% (the highest increase among the transactions)
  • Medical volume decreased 22 percent
  • $701 Million in cost savings opportunity annually for electronic remittance advice across the medical industry
2023 CAQH index report
Read the full 2023 CAQH Index Report here.

Ready for better costs and better care? Get in touch! 


How Does Your EDI Partner Stack Up? (Part 4 of 4)

Doctor at laptop

4 Questions to Ask

Question 4: How Does Your EDI Partner Reduce the Burden of Claims Submission for Providers?

Plan members want access to a range of high- quality providers. Without a robust provider network, health plans are challenged to grow membership and differentiate themselves from competitors.

The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) 2022 Index reported that providers spend ten minutes submitting a single electronic claim on average. For paper, it’s 22 minutes. A large part of this is repetitive data entry. These time blocks add up to significant resource drains in a typical day. Alleviating stressors will reduce payer-provider friction and promote cooperation in your common goal to improve health outcomes for members.

With the right EDI partner, you can streamline operations, reduce administrative burden, and improve your organization’s bottom line. Embracing new technologies and cooperative partnerships can help you gain a competitive advantage and, ultimately, provide better care to members.

Our fourth and final question leads you to ask yourself: “Is my EDI partner providing holistic support to my partner’s and my own organization’s operations?”

White paper

Ready to jump to all four questions? Want to see how your EDI partner stacks up? Download our white paper here.

How Does Your EDI Partner Reduce the Burden of Claims Submission for Providers?

Plan members want access to a range of high- quality providers. Without a robust provider network, health plans are challenged to grow membership and differentiate themselves from competitors.

The healthcare industry is becoming more consumer-driven and labor shortages continue to mount. Health plans need to be mindful of provider relationships and the administrative burdens your claims processing may be placing on them.

The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) 2022 Index reported that providers spend ten minutes submitting a single electronic claim on average. For paper, it’s 22 minutes. A large part of this is repetitive data entry. These time blocks add up to significant resource drains in a typical day. Alleviating stressors will reduce payer-provider friction and promote cooperation in your common goal to improve health outcomes for members.

Your healthcare EDI partner should help you to help providers with an affordable billing tool. Our solution, MYUHIN, reduces repetitive data-entry, and solidifies coding and submissions data to satisfy your processing requirements. Providers can use MYUHIN to submit claims, check patient eligibility, and search, view, and download payment information from any computer, any where.

UHIN is a national EDI network built in 1993 by health plans. We partner with payers and providers across the US. Our approach to EDI and customer service is different. If you’re interest in learning more, please contact us today.


How Does Your EDI Partner Stack Up? (Part 3 of 4)

4 Questions to Ask

Question 3: Are Providers Frequently Contacting You With Questions About Their Claims?

Health plans constantly seek to optimize their high-performing provider networks which provide value to members and patients. To grow these important networks, payers should nurture their provider relationships through personal attention and cutting edge technology.

This is particularly important at a time of mounting staffing shortages and rhetoric of economic downturns. Additionally, medical claim volume increased by 28% in 2022 as vaccines became available, medical offices reopened and pandemic regulations softened. When you add this up, the need for administrative simplification becomes more obvious for health plans and providers.

Tracking down claims, managing denials and submitting myriad claims can burden staff, compound labor costs and decrease profitability. When your provider network is stressed then your ability to grow as a carrier is impacted. Your EDI partner should automate workflows and manage your trading partner network so your support staff can focus on more strategic priorities, rather than answering phone calls and emails all day long.

Our third question addresses this concern as you ask yourself, “how does my EDI partner stack up?”

White paper

Ready to jump to all four questions? Want to see how your EDI partner stacks up? Download our white paper here.

Are Providers Frequently Contacting You With Questions About Their Claims?

When resources are tied up managing claim inquiries, you’re likely underperforming your peers and weakening your organization.

An inability to provide visibility to track and troubleshoot claims in a timely fashion can create financial implications. The increased demand on staff can decrease productivity, which could further delay payments and lead to staff burnout and turnover. Payers must respond to providers within a regulated timeframe, and providers rely on prompt payment for cashflows and their own business growth. Further dissatisfaction amongst providers and members can upend the collaborative nature of interoperability and could drive providers and members away to different plans.

The volume of inquiries to track down claims can burden staff and compound labor costs through the need to hire additional people. The situation can foster negativity between providers and operators, reducing satisfaction for both groups. Your EDI partner should work with you to increase your ability to automate claims processing. Part of this is facilitating a simple, electronic process for providers to submit their transactions and understand the status along the way.

UHIN is a national EDI network built in 1993 by health plans. We partner with payers and providers across the US. Our approach to EDI and customer service is different. If you’re interest in learning more, please contact us today.


Provider Credentialing and Provider Enrollment: What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?

Patient at doctor's office reception desk with nurse

Provider enrollment is crucial for health plans to ensure that members have access to a full range of services. Credentialing verifies a clinician’s training and licensing. Enrollment establishes the technical connection between the provider and the plan. The processes can be complex and time-consuming, but partnering with dedicated enrollment experts – like UHIN – can help streamline the onboarding experience and accelerate success in a highly competitive marketplace.

Why Enrollment Matters

Health plans are constantly looking for better ways to serve the insured, from developing innovative wellness benefits to making it easier to access high-quality, affordable care in the community.

Provider network development is a huge component of this quest for continuous improvement.  Contracting with the right mix of providers – and enough of them – ensures that members can get a full range of services within an acceptable time frame.

Building this ecosystem isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to the nuts and bolts of bringing clinicians on board. Provider credentialing and provider enrollment are equally critical, yet they can often cause confusion and problems on both sides of the plan-provider relationship. 

In fact, providers not being registered/credentialed with a payer is the #1 reason for denials. The #2 reason for denials: the provider did not complete the payer-required process for enrollment.

Both steps – credentialing and enrollment – are crucial. However, even the fundamental differences between the two activities aren’t always clear, especially because they bump up against each other during onboarding. It’s important to understand what’s involved in each process, how they work, and why finding the right partner matters so much to health plans as they grow and mature.

What is Provider Credentialing?

Provider credentialing is the act of verifying that a clinician has the correct training and licensing to practice in their area of expertise. It’s similar to an extensive background check. The process starts after a provider submits a request to work with a practice, health system, or health plan. Collecting this extensive dataset can take up to three months or longer. 

While UHIN does not currently support the credentialing process, certain industry applications are in place, including the CAQH credentialing application. Until the credentialing process is complete, a provider cannot finish the rest of the enrollment process with a health plan. This is especially important for 98 percent of providers in the US who participate in Medicare and Medicare Advantage. In addition, nearly every health plan, including Medicare, requires EDI enrollment in order to start getting reimbursed for services.

What is Provider Enrollment?

Once a provider is officially welcomed into the network, the majority of health plans will require them to complete Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) enrollment, which is the technical connection between the provider and the plan. EDI enrollment allows providers to submit electronic claims to the plan and receive remittance for their services.

Electronic claims submission is nearly universal in the medical industry, according to the latest CAQH index report. In 2022, 97 percent of claims submissions transactions occurred electronically, giving both providers and health plans a strong motivation to ensure they are appropriately connected.

Unfortunately, neither the administrative nor the EDI enrollment processes are standardized across different health plans. This forces providers to juggle many different requirements and documentation requests for each individual payer. The complexity of managing requests from a slew of disparate plans and providers can lead to mistakes and omissions that extend the timeline. 

Even more information may be required during EDI enrollment than credentialing. This can take an additional four to six weeks (or longer) on top of the credentialing timeframe. This is especially true if extensive contract negotiations are necessary or IT challenges get in the way.

In addition, smaller provider groups often do not have enough people-power to devote exclusively to enrollment, making it even more difficult for plans and providers to work together effectively.   

UHIN’s Enrollment Team provides detailed next steps for enrollment based on each specific payer and transaction type for each case. Additionally, we provide defined next steps to move forward with enrollment, based on the payer requirements. UHIN can be reached at enrollment@uhin.org and we will be happy to provide enrollment direction, advice and helpful support through the EDI enrollment process.

How Can Health Plans Streamline Enrollment Processes?

Just like many other areas of the healthcare ecosystem, provider EDI enrollment can significantly benefit from digitization and strong partnerships with expert teams. The widespread lack of standardized processes means plans and providers have to consider each request as a one-off, which can take a great deal of time and effort to parse through without some help.

Charting a Course for Success

When working with providers, health plans should offer clear and detailed instructions on the information needed and the deadlines for delivering it.

Plans should assess their needs by charting out their existing enrollment workflow and identifying any bottlenecks that lead to lag time. Often, these pain points are related to delays in collecting information from providers and internal delays in processing paperwork once received. The result of these delays are wild swings in average completion time for provider onboarding, which creates unpredictability on both sides of the relationship. 

Finding the Right Support

On the internal front, plans should seek out enrollment partners that can field provider requests on behalf of the payer, taking the task off the shoulders of health plan staff. It should take a specialist enrollment team less than one business day to process a request once all of the information is received. There may be additional waiting time depending on the unique payer requirements.

Health plans and providers should make sure they are working with a dedicated enrollment team that can take deep dives into problem-solving when unique technical or administrative challenges arise, such as a technology enhancement that can lead to the need for a process rewrite.

An experienced partner, such as UHIN, offers an expert enrollment team to help navigate the complicated enrollment process. Although we do not currently provide credentialing support, we have a proven history in expediting and accurately guiding providers through the enrollment process. Our enrollment team is based in the US and delivers in-depth knowledge and support to make the enrollment process as frictionless as possible. We can handle any questions you may have in this complicated and critical process.

Partnering with the Right EDI Enrollment Experts

Enrollment involves complex activities with many moving pieces. Getting them right is vital for the success of health plans and provider groups. By understanding the nuances of the process, plans and providers can start to tackle the pinch points that make network development so challenging. Plans that enlist the help of dedicated partners to take on key tasks, such as enrollment, have a better chance of creating a smoother onboarding experience and accelerating their success in a highly competitive marketplace.

UHIN’s enrollment team offers years of experience helping providers through the enrollment process. We provide direct support and in-depth knowledge to expedite the enrollment process and get providers over the finish line no matter how complex or unique the process may be.

Are you a current provider with a UHIN account and interested in learning more about enrollment? Contact enrollment@uhin.org or customer service at 877-693-3071.

If you’re new to UHIN, click below and tell us how we can help streamline EDI enrollment onboarding and relieve burdens for your health plan!