The type and function of third party billers is wide-ranging and figuring out their responsibilities can be difficult. The basic intent of third party billing is to better facilitate a transaction between a provider and a consumer for a service rendered, whether that service is medical, educational, or phone-related. Some billing companies only facilitate payment, while others also provide coding, claims submission, and consulting services. Each type has a set of duties they must carry out.
This is the most common profession that uses third party billing. Billers in the medical field must collect, post and manage account payments. They also help people to submit claims and call insurance companies to follow up on those claims. Any patient with a billing/insurance complaint speaks to a billing specialist, who then reviews a patient’s financial status, consults with the patient and insurance company and creates budgeted payment plans.
Third party billing within a collegiate setting is also common. In this case, a university bills a third party directly for a student’s tuition and fees. The outside agency sponsoring the student must submit authorization to the university. These billing sponsors may be an employer, a military agency, or a government agency. The billing agency must pay all invoices by the date given by the university or the student becomes responsible for payment.
Phone lines, cable, and Internet providers also use third party billing. Often a third party biller is contracted by companies using operator-assisted phone calls to help customers, who are then charged by the third party. It is the duty of the third party biller in this case to comply with all state and federal laws regarding “cramming”- an unauthorized charge placed on a customer’s phone bill. They send bills to the customer on behalf of the phone company and many are legitimate, but all customers should look at their bills very closely to make sure they are not paying unauthorized charges.
Though there is a huge variety of third party billing companies and their duties are dependent on their type, determining their duties to you the consumer is easy. Every billing company must provide contact information that you can call with any questions or charge disputes. The Better Business Bureau is a great resource for finding ratings and descriptions of American companies. The basic duty of a third party biller is to carry out transactions between a consumer and a provider without inconveniencing either party, and they should be held to that standard.
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