EFT, ERA and EPS: Beyond the Basics, Part 1 - Published July 2010

In June, we shared feedback from an online tutorial and survey regarding Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA) and Electronic Payment Summary (EPS). Participants were asked if they had any questions that had not yet been addressed in other provider communications, and that may have prevented them from enrolling. To follow up, we’re presenting a three-part “EFT, ERA and EPS: Beyond the Basics” article series, beginning with this month’s article, which focuses on preliminary enrollment details and prerequisites.

Our office uses an older software package that may not be able to utilize ERA. Can I still enroll for EFT and EPS?
Yes! You can still enroll for EFT, and when you enroll for the ERA, you’ll automatically receive the EPS, which you’ll be able to use right away. Talk to your software vendor about updating to ERA-compatible and auto-posting software so that your office will be equipped to take full advantage of all three transactions.

I am already registered with Availity®’ for billing. Do I still need to register and enroll for ERA/EPS?
If you are registered with Availity*, you are one step ahead of the game, as you will need an Availity User ID to complete your ERA Enrollment form. While you are already submitting claims electronically, the ERA enrollment process is necessary to establish an ERA account and identify an authorized “Receiver” for your ERA and EPS files.

Is there anything else I have to do besides submitting the enrollment forms?
No. Once your completed materials are received and processed, you will receive a letter from Electronic Commerce Services to confirm your enrollment and related details. Please note that, if you utilize a billing service or clearinghouse, we do recommend that you contact your vendor to ensure they are aware and supportive of your electronic preferences.

Do I need to enroll for EFT, ERA or EPS in order to file claims electronically?
No. Taking advantage of EFT, ERA and EPS is not a prerequisite to electronic claim filing. However, if you are interested in increasing administrative efficiency, cost effectiveness, accuracy and security of information throughout the entire claims process, it is highly recommended that you take advantage of all electronic options available to BCBSTX providers.

I don't know what it means to contact a software vendor to ascertain whether my system will receive payment information. I don’t really understand what changes I need to make to receive data.
We commend you for sharing these comments. Upcoming articles and other resources are in development to assist non-technical staff with learning what they need to do—and what questions they need to ask—to be able to conduct business electronically with confidence.

Ready to move on to the next level?
Watch for the next “EFT, ERA and EPS: Beyond the Basics” article, which will delve deeper into how you will actually receive your payment and remittance information. If you are ready to enroll, visit the Electronic Commerce section of the BCBSTX website at bcbstx.com/provider for the EFT and ERA Enrollment forms. For more information, refer to the Electronic Options Tutorial, answers to Frequently Asked Questions and other resources on our website, or contact our Electronic Commerce Center at 800-746-4614 for enrollment assistance.

We look forward to helping you discover the benefits of participating in these electronic transactions!

* Availity is a registered trademark of Availity, L.L.C., an independent contractor that is solely responsible for its products and services.