How to Handle Denied Insurance Claims

Revenue cycle can be greatly affected by denials in a medical practice. Professionally managed denials and their reduction are crucial for financial health and operational efficiency. This guide shows how to manage denials comprehensively step by step with practical tips for minimizing them.


There are various administrative tasks involved in running a medical practice, one of which is claim denial management. Claim denial management requires an organized approach to identify, fix, and prevent future claims from being denied thereby ensuring the financial stability of your practice. It is important that you understand this concept as we go on to explore the ways through which one can efficiently manage these denials.

Understanding Medical Practice Denials

Denial occurs when an insurance company refuses to pay for medical service provided. These may arise from various things including wrong patient information or coding errors or non-conformity with insurance policies. Knowing what they have in common helps manage and minimize denials.

Steps for Managing Denials

Handle Denied Insurance Claims. A nurse filling out a form.

Initial Assessment and Categorization

As soon as the denial notice is received, assess it right away. The denial should be placed in a category depending on its type; for example, coding errors, patient eligibility issues or lack of documentation. This classification will guide the subsequent steps and help focus on what needs to be done first.

Root Cause Analysis

Analyze each category of denials carefully for their root causes. These can be things like wrong billing codes or outdated patient details. Knowing why things happen is necessary to avoid such denials in the future.

Correction and Resubmission

Once you have found the root cause, correct it immediately. Updating patient information could lead to resending the claim while rectifying coding errors could mean providing more documents besides others. After correcting your mistakes, resend your claim to an insurance company promptly.

Documentation and Tracking

Keep full records about every denial including the primary denial notice, corrective measures taken, and re-submission particulars. Employ a system that manages all types of declines and tracks them through until completion as well as all resubmitted claims are monitored till resolved by filling up all loopholes with nothing left behind.

Communication with Payers

The reasons for denial should be sought from the insurance companies regularly and possible settlements discussed. When you have a good relationship with payers, it helps to improve claim resolution and learn about potential mannerisms that can be dealt with before they occur.

Training and Education

Your staff should regularly receive training in billing, coding, and patient information confirmation. Regular education about new insurance policies and common denial reasons helps in reducing mistakes leading to denials.

Performance Monitoring and Reporting

Create a robust reporting system that tracks denial rates and indicates trends. Frequently assess these reports to determine how effective your process is in managing denials, altering them when needed. Consequently, maintaining high efficiency demands goal setting and consistent monitoring of improvements made over time.

Tips to Reduce Denials

Accurate Patient Information

Ensure that every patient’s details are collected accurately and verified each time they visit. This involves checking whether the patient is covered by an insurance company, getting any required referrals done, or updating their files regularly.

Thorough Documentation

Forbid rejections by doing thorough paperwork. Make sure to document all patient interactions, treatments and procedures, including communication with insurance companies.

Correct Coding Practices

Ensure your coding staff is trained in the current coding rules and practices. Correct codes should be used to reduce denials that arise from wrong or outdated codes.

Pre-Authorization and Eligibility Checks

Conduct pre-authorization as well as eligibility check before rendering services. This helps in identifying potential issues with coverage and obtaining necessary approvals in advance.

Use of Technology

This would involve the use of denial management software and electronic health record (EHR) systems which help streamlining the claims process, reducing manual errors, and increasing efficiency altogether.

Continuous Improvement

Always review your denial management process while seeking advice from your staff. Find out the areas that need improvement and make changes that will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of your process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To decrease the number of declined claims, ensure that patient information is correct, document thoroughly, use proper coding, perform pre-authorization and eligibility checks, and exploit technology to make things run faster.

Denial reasons include incorrect data on patients, coding errors, no pre-authorization or eligibility issues, and lack of documents.

Staff training is important in denial management since it makes sure that the team knows how to do perfect billing, coding and documentation, which reduces mistakes that results in reduced claims.

Technology helps in managing denials by automating the claims process, reporting, and reducing errors, as well as facilitating better communication with insurance companies.

Payer communication is vital for denial management since it enables clarification on denial reasons and discussion of resolution whilst creating a relationship that may result in faster resolution and more favorable outcomes.

Regularly reviewing and updating the denial management process is vital. Ideally, this should be done quarterly to address any emerging issues and continuously improve the system’s effectiveness.


Doctors need to manage denials effectively so they can keep their finances in order and carry out their operations without any hitches. Practices that follow a systematic denial management method, regularly train their employees and use technology can make all the difference as providers can minimize denials occurrence and get paid on time. The implementation of these approaches not only helps to boost cash flow in the practice, but it also improves patient experience by cutting down administrative delays.

About the Author

Picture of Josh Ostler

Josh Ostler

Josh has built business in various healthcare practice areas. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School with a BA in Communication from Brigham Young University. He worked with large corporations, including Goldman Sachs and Price Waterhouse Coopers. He began helping small healthcare companies and medical practices grow. He saw first hand the need for reliable, transparent, efficient billing and coding support. Josh founded Aspen Coding in 2017 and joined with RPM Billing shortly thereafter. Both companies have grown significantly and serve clients throughout the country.

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