Confusion about which jurisdiction to report to is a common side effect of the complexity of unclaimed property reporting in the healthcare industry. Huge amounts of data, massive numbers of transactions, varied data systems, wholesale upgrades of systems and unaligned data entry processes for multiple payers all add to the vast complexity of researching unclaimed amounts. Most healthcare institutions do the best they can, but there often isn’t time, tools or expertise in-house to manage the unclaimed property reporting process. In many cases it's just not a priority, and neglect leads to issues that can result in millions of dollars in assessments.
One key problem is identifying who exactly a credit balance is owed to (the property owner). This is determined legally through court-tested priority rules. However, healthcare institutions often generate invalid unclaimed credit balances in the first place, and it's not always clear who a credit balance is owed to. Learn more about this in the July 2015 issue of MarketSphere's KeepUP™ Newsletter.
Priority rules for remittance and reporting of unclaimed property
The unclaimed property acts drafted by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) are the basis for most unclaimed property statutes across all U.S. reporting jurisdictions. Canada’s statutes are similar. Early ULC acts did not make it clear what to do when unclaimed property holders did not have any address for a property owner. As a result, states sometimes competed for the right to claim the property. This conflict was tested in the U.S. Supreme Court, and the result was what the industry calls “priority rules” for unclaimed property reporting.