Thursday, 4 June 2015

Using Medicare's Express Plus app to make a claim

Yesterday I put through my first Medicare claim using the government's new smartphone app, which is called Express Plus. A month or so ago I wrote about installing the Express Plus app on the smartphone. The submission process that I completed yesterday is a little lengthy but nowhere near as burdensome as the initial setup process, which requires that you link your account to your Medicare profile.

For making a claim using Express Plus, first of all you have to take a photo with your smartphone's camera of the doctor's invoice. Express Plus will crop an image taken in landscape orientation so it's probably most reliable to use a standard profile orientation to take the photo of the invoice. You should remove from the invoice any receipts and place them alongside the invoice so both documents are clearly visible in the photo you take. I got this information from the counter clerk in the Medicare office a week or so ago, so it's reliable information. Another thing to keep in mind is that Express Plus will convert your colour photo to black-and-white before the image is transferred to Medicare.

Once you have taken the photo you have to put in some data in data-entry fields which are provided by the app. For specialist services - such as the claim I was making - you have to put into the data-entry fields such information as the referring doctor's provider number as well as the provider number of the doctor who provided the service, so there is a fair bit of detail involved that you might never normally think about for making Medicare claims.

I had a bit of trouble with this step because my doctor's invoice showed a list of separate procedure dates but the app only gives you one date field for the procedure. Because of this slight mismatch in expectations I telephoned Medicare after submitting the claim and asked them what I should have done with this. They told me that mostly the scrutineers at Medicare give precedence to the actual invoice that is sent as an image, so, she said, "it doesn't really matter what information you put in the fields."

I put in the claim yesterday in the late morning but the payment has not yet arrived in my bank account. [Checking two days later the internet banking interface said the payment was made on 4 June to my account.]

Overall, the experience of using the Express Plus app was one where I felt slightly awkward and hurried but there was no major obstacle getting in the way of me completing the submission process. As I mentioned earlier, though, the process in this case is far less difficult and complicated than the initial process you need to complete in order to start using Express Plus.

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