Operating Rules Mandate - EFT and ERA

Operating Rules Status  |   CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules  |   Key Dates Coordination with Financial Services Industry  |   Medicare Implementation  |   Role of CAQH CORE Getting Involved with CAQH CORE  |   Education and Outreach  |   Implementation Resources  |   Contacts

Status of Mandated EFT & ERA Operating Rules

On March 23, 2011, NCVHS sent a letter to the Secretary of HHS making a recommendation to name "CAQH CORE in collaboration with NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association as the candidate authoring entity for operating rules for all healthcare EFT and ERA transactions..."

On August 1, 2011, CAQH CORE and NACHA jointly submitted a letter to the Co-Chairs of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) Subcommittee on Standards, an advisory body to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to provide an update on progress developing healthcare operating rules for EFT & ERA, including links to rules.

On December 7, 2011, NCVHS sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius, HHS, making a recommendation the Secretary adopt the set of five operating rules submitted to NCVHS by CAQH CORE and NACHA, conditional on the authoring entities making certain revisions to the proposed operating rules. A key condition was that the rules should not require CORE Certification, which they do not.

On August 10, 2012, HHS issued an Interim Final Rule with Comment (IFC) adopting the complete Phase III CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules, including the CORE v5010 Master Companion Guide Template, to fulfill the ACA Section 1104 Federal mandate for national EFT & ERA Operating Rules. (NOTE:CAQH CORE requirements pertaining to the use of Acknowledgements are not included for adoption.) CAQH CORE developed a model comment letter for CORE Participating Organizations to submit, the letter can be viewed here.

In April 2013, CMS issued a notice adopting CMS-0028-IFC as a Final Rule. Industry implementation efforts should be well underway for the January 1, 2014 effective date for implementation of the Federally mandated CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules. This notice also urged stakeholders to get involved in the CAQH CORE Code Combinations Maintenance Process.

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CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules

For quick reference, CAQH CORE has developed a brief high-level overview of the CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules.

The Complete Set of Phase III CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules, developed by CORE Participants with industry input, was approved in the final CORE vote in June 2012 as the final step in the CORE Voting Process. To support the CORE Guiding Principles and align with Federal efforts, the CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules:

  • Do not include references to voluntary CORE Certification (e.g., "A CORE-certified entity must...")
  • Each include a Conformance Requirements section to clarify that CMS will determine conformance with the Federal mandates
  • Include appropriate references to the January 2012 Interim Final Rule with Comment (CMS-0024-IFC): Administrative Simplification: Adoption of Standards for Health Care Electronic Funds Transfers (EFTs) and Remittance Advice

Links to the individual rules are available below.

Per the CORE Rules Development Process, for each CAQH CORE Rule Set, a Voluntary CORE Certification Test Suite is developed specifying how entities can achieve voluntary CORE Certification with the rule set. The Phase III CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules Voluntary Certification Test Suite was also approved in the final CORE vote in June 2012 and Voluntary CORE Certification is now available to interested entities.

  • CAQH CORE 350: Health Care Claim Payment/Advice (835) Infrastructure Rule
  • CAQH CORE 360: Uniform Use of CARCs and RARCs (835) Rule
  • CAQH CORE 370: EFT & ERA Reassociation (CCD+/835) Rule
  • CAQH CORE 380: EFT Enrollment Data Rule
  • CAQH CORE 382: ERA Enrollment Data Rule
    • New Resource from CAQH CORE: For more information about the CAQH CORE Enrollment Data Sets Maintenance Process, please visit the Enrollment Data Sets Maintenance Process for CAQH CORE 380 & 382 Rules Webpage. The purpose of this webpage is to serve as a "one stop shop" for all the necessary tools and information to comply with CAQH CORE 380 & 382 Rules and the ongoing maintenance process. Highlights from the new webpage include:
      • Access to current and past versions of the Enrollment Data Sets
      • Timeline for updates and compliance
      • Key considerations by stakeholder type
    • January 1, 2014: Effective Date by which HIPAA-covered entities must comply with the Federally mandated CAQH CORE EFT and ERA Operating Rules
      • * Penalties for All HIPAA-covered Entities: The HIPAA Administrative Simplification provisions require all HIPAA-covered entities to comply with the Federally mandated requirements by their effective dates (January 1, 2014 for the EFT and ERA operating rules). The penalties to be assessed for non-compliance were formalized in the original HIPAA legislation and updated by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) rules in 2009. Due to HITECH, CMS OESS (Office of E-Health Standards and Services) penalties for HIPAA non-compliance have increased, now up to $1.5 million per entity per year.
    • December 31, 2015: Proposed Certification Date by which health plans must "file a statement with HHS certifying that their data and information systems are in compliance with the standards and operating rules" including the Federally mandated CAQH CORE EFT and ERA Operating Rules
      • On December 31, 2013, HHS issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the ACA-mandated health plan certification with a 90-day comment period. The NPRM includes health plan certification requirements for the eligibility, claim status, EFT and ERA transactions.
    • No Later than December 31, 2015: Health Plan Penalty Date by which CMS proposes to begin assessing penalties against health plans that have failed to meet the certification and compliance requirements for standards and operating rules per Section 1104 of the ACA, including the Federally mandated CAQH CORE EFT and ERA Operating Rules
      • * Penalties for Health Plan Certification: The ACA requires HHS to assess penalties against health plans that fail to certify compliance; the fee amount equals $1 per covered life until certification is complete (covered life for which the plan’s data systems are not in compliance and shall be imposed for each day the plan is not in compliance).
    • Your organization can join CORE to participate directly in the rule development process,
    • Achieve voluntary CORE Certification, and/or
    • Endorse CORE.

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Key Dates for EFT and ERA

The following dates are critical for industry implementation of the Federally mandated CAQH CORE EFT and ERA Operating Rules. Note there are two types of penalties related to compliance with the mandated operating rules.


View the CAQH CORE timeline of key activities related to Federally mandated operating rules.

View the CMS list of Deadlines and Key Dates for HIPAA Administrative Simplification Compliance.

*NOTE: The CMS OESS is the authority on the HIPAA and ACA Administrative Simplification provisions and requirements for compliance and enforcement. The CMS website provides information on the ACA compliance, certification, and penalties and enforcement process.

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Coordination with Financial Services Industry: NACHA's Proposed Enhancement to NACHA Operating Rules Due to Healthcare Use of EFT

The financial services industry maintains its own set of operating rules (NACHA Operating Rules and Guidelines) which govern the ACH Network. The NACHA Operating Rules are separate and distinct from the CAQH CORE Operating Rules and address the use of the electronic funds transfer (EFT) standard. Only financial institutions are formal members of NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association and can directly decide on the NACHA Operating Rules content.

CAQH CORE and NACHA have been working in partnership as the healthcare industry moves to adopt the industry-neutral EFT and a set of EFT & ERA healthcare operating rules. In March of 2012, NACHA issued a Request for Comment (RFC) on potential amendments to the NACHA Operating Rules with comments due by April 27th. The purpose of these amendments is to address both enhancements requested by the healthcare industry to improve the delivery of remittance information contained in EFT payments transmitted via the ACH Network, as well as other enhancements identified by the NACHA membership.

CAQH CORE submitted comments to NACHA for its consideration based on feedback from CORE Participants on the RFC. In addition, the CAQH CORE Rules Work Group held a call on May 18th, 2012 on which NACHA staff provided insight and rationale for the proposed enhancements and answered questions on the framework of the ACH Network as it relates to the proposed enhancements. CAQH CORE will continue to follow and report out to the healthcare industry on the NACHA process and ensure healthcare comments are understood.

For more information on the CAQH CORE comments on the NACHA RFC, please email CORE@caqh.org.

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Medicare Implementation of the CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules

Medicare efforts are underway to implement the ACA-mandated CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules by the January 2014 compliance date. In May 2013, CMS issued a Change Request (CR 8182) that sets guidelines for Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and Shared System Maintainers (SSMs) to implement the ACA-mandated CAQH CORE 360: Uniform Use of CARCs and RARCs (835) Rule and Code Combinations for CORE-defined Business Scenarios version 3.0.1 January 2013. The requirements apply to both Electronic Remittance Advices and Standard Paper Remittances.

Per CR 8182, Full Implementation must be completed by October 7, 2013 for the Intermediary Standard System (FISS) and Multi-Carrier System (MCS) and by January 6, 2014 for the ViPS Medicare System (VMS). By October 7, 2013, Medicare Remit Easy Print (MREP) and PC Print software will also be modified as needed.

This instruction does not constitute a change to MACs Statement of Work; contractors must complete implementation within existing operating budgets.

Guidance for physicians, other providers, and suppliers submitting claims for services to Medicare beneficiaries on the guidelines set in CR 8182 is available via MLN Matters® Number: MM8182. As with other CMS Transmittals, CR 8182 can be obtained on the CMS website.

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Role of CAQH CORE for EFT & ERA

The complete Phase III CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules, including the CORE v5010 Master Companion Guide Template are adopted in the August 10, 2012, HHS Interim Final Rule with Comment (IFC) (CMS-0028-IFC). NCVHS recommended to HHS that CAQH CORE and NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association, be the authoring entities for the second set of Federally mandated operating rules for the electronic funds transfer (EFT) and electronic remittance advice (ERA) transactions. The CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules are fulfilling ACA operating rule requirements for the two transactions.

For more information on the role of CAQH CORE, email CORE@caqh.org.

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Getting Involved with CORE for EFT & ERA

The Phase III CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules have been adopted by HHS as a Final Rule. However, CAQH CORE continues to welcome participants from all healthcare stakeholder groups to contribute to future operating rule development. There are multiple ways to become involved in the development of operating rules that drive the business of healthcare:

As CAQH CORE continues to evolve its rule development processes, entities are encouraged to submit ideas for future operating rules or modifications to CORE@caqh.org.

CAQH CORE is in the process of drafting additional rules to respond to the third and final set of operating rules required by the ACA. If you are interested in learning more or participating, email CORE@caqh.org.

Interested stakeholders are encouraged to contact CAQH CORE to learn more about how to become a CORE Participant at CORE@caqh.org.

View the list of CORE Participating Organizations.

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Education and Outreach

CAQH CORE is committed to educating the industry on the value of operating rules and how they build on standards. The scope of the CORE rules to date reflects the realities of how health plans and providers can use electronic transactions to move the industry forward while supporting current operations. The CORE rule development and voting processes are transparent and inclusive, and highlight the roles of those who need to implement the rules: health plans, clearinghouses/vendors, and providers.

CAQH CORE holds frequent education sessions with partners such as WEDI, associations, and Medicaid workgroups. Presentations often include speakers from organizations that have already implemented the rules. Additionally, CAQH CORE holds monthly, industry-wide free Town Hall calls to provide both non-CORE and CORE participants with an informal update on CAQH CORE activities, including activities related to the ACA Section 1104 Administrative Simplification provisions (e.g. status of regulations, CORE Rule development, etc.).

View the complete list of CORE Education Events (including copies of past sessions)

View the complete list of CAQH CORE Town Hall Calls (including recordings of past sessions)

Interested in having CAQH CORE present at your event/organization? Email CORE@caqh.org.

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Implementation Resources

CAQH CORE has a number of resources and tools available to assist entities with implementation of the CAQH CORE EFT & ERA Operating Rules. To view a full list of resources, please visit the CORE Implementation Resources webpage.

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For more information about the mandated operating rules process contact CAQH CORE at CORE@caqh.org.

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Organization Type
CAQH Program