Do you add “Signature on File” to your No-Fault Bills?

If you do not sign each of the bills you submit to the No Fault carrier, it has the right to delay the bill and demand a bill be submitted with your original signature.  According to a 2006 lower court decision, the insurance company is not obligated to accept a copy of an Assignment of Benefits nor electronic signature or the words “Signature on File” on your HICFA form.

No-Fault Providers must adhere to the Regulation, just like the insurance companies do.  In this case, the plain language of Regulation 68, 65-3.11 (B) mandates that “a provider must submit either a properly executed prescribed assignment of benefits or authorization to pay in order to receive direct payment from the insurer. "It is well established that the No-Fault law is in derogation of the common law and must be `strictly construed'" City of N.Y. v Atlanta Cas. Co., 210 AD2d 210 [2d Dept 1994].

While a No Fault carrier may accept “Signature on File” or electronic signatures, it is not OBLIGATED to. “An insurance carrier has the right to reject an ‘electronic signature’ on an assignment of benefits and to insist on a copy with a handwritten signature via [proper] verification request.” See, DWP Pain Free Medical, P.C. a/a/o Edison Alcantara v. Progressive Northeastern Ins. Co., 2006 NY Slip Op 26531 (Dist. Ct. Suffolk County) (Hackeling, J).  The No-Fault Insurance Carrier cited a 2006 Opinion of the NY State Insurance Department Office of the General Counsel which advised that “an insurance company is not obligated to accept an electronic signature” despite New York State Law (ESRA) and the federal law pertaining to Electronic Signatures.  The opinion letter went on to state that neither of those laws “obligates any person, including an insurer, to accept the use of electronic records and signatures and may require that such records and signatures be submitted in hard copy form”.

Best Practice:

If you receive a verification/delay letter from the insurance company requesting that you submit Assignments of Benefit Forms or bills which contain your original signature, send it.  It might be best for you to have your patient sign more than one No Fault Assignment of benefits so that you can send one to the insurance company and keep one for your file.

I don’t get it either.  Most insurance companies just take the mail and scan it, doing away with most documents containing original signatures, which is why most insurance companies won’t ask you for these items.

Any questions?  E-mail me at jeenabelil@jeenabelil.com