Virtual Credit Cards May Be Costing You Three to Five Percent of Each Payment; What Can You Do?

The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) has received calls regarding the excessive fees for health plan usage of virtual credit cards (VCCs) and Automated Clearing House Electronic Funds Transfers (ACH EFT).

More health plans are paying claims with VCCs, but physicians might not be aware of hidden fees — typically three to five percent of the total payment — associated with this payment method.

In fact, a recent provider survey conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA), American Dental Association, and Medical Group Management Association found that more than two-thirds of respondents received VCC payments, with 86 percent reporting that VCC payments have increased during the past year. And, more than 40 percent of respondents said they were unaware of practice revenue being lost to VCCs.

New policy adopted at the recent AMA Annual Meeting directs the AMA to advocate for transparency in VCC payments, which includes advanced disclosure by third-party payers of transaction fees associated with VCCs and any rebates or other incentives awarded to payers for using this payment method. The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) will also support these initiatives.

Meanwhile, the AMA highlights three things physicians can do to avoid high VCC fees:

  • Register for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) payments.
  • Be aware of restrictions in payment methods when contracting with health plans.
  • Educate your practice staff.