POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

CNS takes first step to automatic payment of medical bills



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The CNS headquarters in Route d'Esch. Photo: Romain Gamba 

Luxembourg’s national health insurer, the CNS, has signed an exchange of information agreement with two doctors’ associations in the country, paving the way to introduce a third-party payer system. 

The agreements signed on 19 May will allow information to be shared between doctors and dentists, patients and the CNS.

In a first step, this will speed up the processing of bills as the CNS will be able to access medical bills issued with a QR code on a shared server. This will help shorten procedures to connect papers to information about the doctor stored digitally.

By July, the CNS hopes that at least 30% of doctors will be able to use this system. The insurer currently faces a backlog of outstanding payments. Whereas medical bills are usually reimbursed to patients within around two weeks, the delay is currently six to eight weeks long.

In a second step, the CNS will launch an app, which will allow doctors to issue bills digitally and for patients to submit them to the CNS via the application. The app will be upgraded over time to include prescriptions and sick leave certificates.

Paper version will remain available for patients who don’t have access to digital technologies or lack skills in using them.

These digitalisation processes will help pave the way for the CNS to switch to a third-party payer system, meaning that patients no longer have to advance payment but that doctors will be paid immediately by the CNS. This would mean patients only have to pay the sum not covered by insurance.

This automatic payment system should see the light of day in 2023, with the intermediate steps helping prepare and support doctors as they move more services online.