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Army medical command sends out overdue-bill notices, asks patients to call insurance companies to find out what they owe

Doctors perform a surgery at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Patient medical bills are getting processed months late by Regional Health Command Europe, where staffing shortages have created a backlog, health officials said Monday.

COURTESY US ARMY

By JOHN VANDIVER | Stars and Stripes | Published: June 25, 2018

STUTTGART, Germany — The Army’s Regional Health Command Europe is sending out incomplete delinquency notices and asking patients to call their insurance companies to find out how much they really owe, due to a billing backlog the command attributes to staffing shortages.

The health command, which couldn’t immediately say Monday how many customers have been affected, oversees 15 Army health care facilities in Germany, Belgium and Italy.

“Currently, the UBO (Uniform Business Office) is processing insurance checks received in March 2018. We have detailed employees from other sections to assist with processing payments from insurance companies,” health command resource management chief Lt. Col. Yun Fan said in a statement.

For customers, that means accounts are not getting reconciled in a timely manner and patients may receive delinquency notices that do not reflect payments from their insurance companies, the command said.

While the command works through its backlog, no accounts will be sent to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service or the Treasury Department for collection until the accounts are reconciled and the backlog is cleared, according to RHCE.

“We expect the check processing backlog to be reduced to 60 days by the end of July,” Fan said.

Meanwhile, customers should contact their insurers to find out how much of a bill their policy will cover and then pay the remainder, the medical command said.

“We ask that our patients pay their portion on time so the claims can be closed as soon the insurance payments are processed,” Fan said.

The billing office, which is authorized to have 25 full-time workers but now has only 16, is in the process of filling the vacancies, RHCE said.

The command’s billing office welcomes the help of volunteers interested in learning about medical billing through the American Red Cross’ station at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. The Red Cross at Landstuhl can be contacted at 06371-9464-7298.

vandiver.john@stripes.com
Twitter: @john_vandiver

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