Can you cash old insurance checks?

June 20, 2008

We recently found several two-year-old insurance reimbursement checks?one for more than $5,000. The checks are marked "void after 90 days" and the patient is now insured by a different carrier. What should we do?

We recently found several two-year-old insurance reimbursement checks-one for more than $5,000. The checks are marked "void after 90 days" and the patient is now insured by a different carrier. What should we do?

Send the checks back to the carrier that issued them, along with a letter explaining that they were misplaced two years ago and were recently found. Ask the insurer to issue replacement checks. If the insurer has already closed the books for that time period and refuses your request, you're out of luck.

No matter what the carrier does, take steps to ensure that a costly mistake like this one can't happen again. You'll need to review all the office systems involved-who's responsible for opening the mail, recording reimbursements, entering payment details into the computer system, and billing patients for remaining balances-and how those tasks are handled. Once you identify potential weaknesses, revamp your procedures to prevent future problems.

This answer to our reader's question was provided by Owen J. Dahl, CHBC, Owen Dahl Consulting, The Woodlands, TX.