The first question is always “what is unclaimed property?” For all companies, unclaimed property can be abandoned stocks and dividend checks, uncashed payroll and vendor checks and accounts receivable credits. If money moves in or out of a company, there is the potential for unclaimed property. In health care practices, accounts receivable credits often take the form of credit balances on patient accounts.
In an industry that has difficulty collecting balances in full, credit balances are just as common. Credit balances are often a problem when there are multiple payers, such as the patient, insurance companies, and government programs. A patient receives services, and the practice submits an invoice to both the patient and the insurance company. The insurance company adjusts down the invoice, based on negotiated rates, and pays a portion of the remaining balance. Your practice then submits additional invoices to the patient or back resubmits to the insurance company. This cycle results in a stream of partial payments that may eventually lead to more than the full balance being paid, leaving a credit balance on the account. This credit balance represents money owed to another party, not the practice, and if left unresolved, the state may claim as unclaimed property.