As of March 1, 2013, anyone receiving federal benefits such as Social Security will receive their payments via direct deposit, according to Healthcare Finance News. No bank account? You'll be receiving a Direct Express MasterCard.
The U.S. Treasury estimates that this transition will save taxpayers $1 billion over the next 10 years, and it will also increase efficiency. Paper checks can be lost or stolen. Direct deposit is also more effective for nursing care facilities and this new payment process will help to improve internal processes.
How this change could affect you or your loved ones
If you’re receiving federal benefits, you can opt to switch to direct deposit now, or you’ll automatically be switched to the Direct Express MasterCard on March 1st to avoid payment disruptions. Anyone who enrolled in federal benefits after May 1, 2011 is already using the electronic direct deposit system and won’t be affected by the change.
The Go Direct Campaign
The U.S. Department of Treasury is encouraging facilities to prepare for the change with Go Direct, a website featuring a countdown clock and information about how the change will benefit recipients, providers and the U.S. healthcare system. You can even follow the Go Direct Campaign’s Twitter account for the most recent updates, news and facts. For instance, did you know that more than 440,000 Social Security and SSI checks were lost or stolen last year alone? The direct deposit system will drastically reduce this number by making it more difficult to steal checks, eliminate checks being lost in the mail and make it simpler for seniors to access their funds without having to make a deposit at the bank.
Educational resources for providers
In September, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) will be joining the Department of Treasury to offer a webinar, followed by a convention in October that will help make the direct deposit conversion smoother for long-term care facilities. Go Direct also has call centers that a lot of smaller long-term care facilities have been utilizing to ensure that the correct residents are credited and to learn how to appropriately reconcile payments. Also beginning in September, Go Direct will post different scenarios that may cause long-term care facilities issues and how to efficiently fix these problems.
Make sure that you, your facility or your loved ones are prepared for federal benefit paper checks to soon become direct deposits. Go Direct call centers will be available to field questions throughout the transition. Visit the Go Direct website for all the latest news, access to webinars for community-based organizations and financial institutions, and materials you can utilize in your own marketing efforts to educate your clients and customers about the upcoming changes.