A new Minnesota law requires insurance companies, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to switch to electronic billing.
The law taking effect today is the first of its kind in the nation, and marks a digital conversion for the state's health care industry. It applies only to transactions between medical providers and insurance companies and other health programs, and will not affect bills sent to patients.
Dave Haugen, director of the state Health Department's Center for Health Care Purchasing Improvement, says electronic billing can be done for about half the cost of paperwork. He says many providers have already made the switch.
"Other providers, though, who have not been doing this previously will certainly be still facing some challenges," said Haugen. "There may be some bumps in the road, but again, this is really the direction that not only the health care system is going, but I think our economy generally. It has really become dependent on the efficiency and accuracy of the standard electronic exchange of routine business transactions."
The law applies to about 60,000 doctors, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, psychologists and other care providers.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)