Insurance companies will be able to track real-time transactions with doctors' offices and hospitals, which will be able to submit claims electronically and get paid faster. Studies show that many health care providers submit claims on paper, which analysts say can cause several problems, including slow payments, frustrated consumers who want to know if their procedures are covered and medical errors when handwritten orders are misread (and therefore not carried out properly or mistyped into the system). Medicare pays a bonus to "early adapter" doctors who have electronic health records in place by 2011. The maximum of $18,000 in the first year phases down to $2,000 in the fifth year for a total five-year bonus of up to $44,000 for early adopters, according to a report by OmniMD. There is a penalty for those who delay. "Doctors who have not adopted electronic health records before 2015 and who fail to obtain a hardship exemption will see a 1 percent cut to their Medicare pay, a reduction that phases up to 3 percent for 2017 and remains each year after that," OmniMd said.
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