NU Online News Service, Nov. 20, 2:01 p.m. – URAC, Washington, a managed care quality group, has approved the first national standards for accreditation of health insurance claims-processing programs.

The URAC Claims Processing Standards set minimum standards for timeliness, appeals processes, communications with claimants, staff training, and the systems used to handle claims, URAC says.

A URAC advisory committee made up of representatives from doctors, hospitals, employers and other organizations developed the standards. They gave health insurers, health maintenance organizations and third-party administrators a chance to comment, URAC says.

The U.S. Department of Labor released officials claims processing standards a year ago that will take effect in November 2002.

URAC did its best to ensure that the accreditation standards would be consistent with the official federal standards, URAC says.