Health insurance companies should take athenahealth's comments to heart. Payers need to prepare for more states to come knocking on their doors if they are not paying claims promptly. That means streamlining policies and procedures, creating real-time claim adjudication that removes barriers for physicians' offices, and providing the proper outreach and communication so that physician offices don't need to spend hours on the phone each week with insurers' call centers.
Health insurers are the bad guys in healthcare, whether you like it or not. This means they are easy prey for state officials. Though Medicaid reimbursements are often slow and lacking, health insurers can't use that as an excuse when the state fines or questions their promptness.
They need to instead understand that removing barriers for physicians and working with doctors are more than a way to make physicians happy. It's also a way to avoid becoming the next headline when a state decides to make you an example.