What is ANSI 837?

Discover the ins and outs of ANSI 837 – the industry standard for electronic healthcare claims submission.

In the world of healthcare data interchange, the term “ANSI 837” carries significance. Whether you are a healthcare professional, a medical coder, or a billing expert, understanding ANSI 837 and its role in the industry is essential. This article aims to shed light on the basics of ANSI 837, its purpose, structure, different transaction types, and the process of creating and transmitting an ANSI 837 file.

Understanding the Basics

Understanding the Basics of ANSI 837

Before delving into the finer details, let's start with a brief overview of what ANSI 837 entails. ANSI 837 is a standard format used for electronic submission of healthcare claims. It streamlines the process of transmitting billing and other patient-related information between healthcare providers and payers.

By adopting a standardized format, you can ensure that data is shared accurately, efficiently, and in a consistent manner across the healthcare industry. This consistency promotes better communication and streamlines the reimbursement process for healthcare claims.

Definition and Purpose

At its core, ANSI 837 is a transaction set defined by the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12. It serves as a data interchange format specifically designed to facilitate electronic healthcare claim submissions.

The primary purpose of it is to enable the electronic exchange of claim information between healthcare providers, such as hospitals, clinics, and physicians, and payers, such as insurance companies or government agencies. This standardized format enhances the automation of claim processing, reducing errors and increasing efficiency.

The Role of ANSI 837 in Healthcare

ANSI 837 plays a critical role in the healthcare industry, serving as the backbone for electronic claims submission. By utilizing this format, healthcare organizations can streamline their operations, reduce paperwork, and improve the accuracy of claims processing.

With the adoption of ANSI 837, healthcare providers can submit claims electronically, eliminating the need for manual submissions. This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of errors associated with manual data entry. By automating the claim submission process, healthcare organizations can accelerate reimbursement cycles and improve cash flow.

Furthermore, it facilitates a more efficient claims adjudication process. Payers can more easily access and analyze the submitted data, leading to faster claims processing and increased transparency in healthcare billing.

Benefits of Using ANSI 837

One of the key benefits is the reduction of administrative burden. An automated claim submission process saves time and resources that would otherwise be spent on manual paperwork.

ANSI 837 promotes data accuracy and consistency. The risk of errors and discrepancies is minimized with standardized data elements and formats, leading to improved claims processing and reduced claim denials.

It also enables faster claims processing and reimbursement cycles. By electronically submitting claims, healthcare providers can expect quicker turnaround times, ensuring a steady cash flow and improved financial stability.

Lastly, ANSI 837 promotes transparency and accountability in healthcare billing. Payers can easily access and analyze the submitted data, ensuring that claims are processed accurately and in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations.

ANSI 837 is a vital component of electronic claims submission in the healthcare industry. By adopting this standardized format, healthcare organizations can streamline their operations, reduce errors, and improve the efficiency of claims processing.

The Structure of an ANSI 837 File

The Structure of an ANSI 837 File

Now that we have a grasp of the fundamentals, let's explore the structure. To understand this structure better, it's crucial to familiarize ourselves with the key components and different segments that comprise an ANSI 837 file.

It consists of various essential components. These include:

  • ISA (Interchange Control Header)
  • GS (Functional Group Header)
  • ST (Transaction Set Header)
  • BHT (Beginning of Hierarchical Transaction)
  • Hierarchical Level
  • Looping Segments
  • SE (Transaction Set Trailer)
  • GE (Functional Group Trailer)
  • IEA (Interchange Control Trailer)

Let's dive deeper into each of these components:

ISA (Interchange Control Header)

The ISA segment is the first segment in an ANSI 837 file. This file contains information about the sender and receiver of the file, as well as control information such as the interchange control number and the date and time of the interchange.

GS (Functional Group Header)

The GS segment identifies a functional group within the interchange. It provides information about the sender and receiver of the functional group, as well as control information such as the functional group control number.

ST (Transaction Set Header)

The ST segment identifies a transaction set within the functional group. It contains information about the transaction set control number and the transaction set identifier code.

BHT (Beginning of Hierarchical Transaction)

The BHT segment marks the beginning of a hierarchical transaction. It contains information about the hierarchical structure of the transaction, such as the hierarchical structure code and the transaction set purpose code.

Hierarchical Level

The hierarchical level segment defines the hierarchical structure of the transaction. It contains information about the hierarchical level code and the hierarchical child code.

Looping Segments

The looping segments repeat a group of related segments within the transaction. They allow for the representation of hierarchical relationships and repeating data structures.

SE (Transaction Set Trailer)

The SE segment marks the end of a transaction set. It contains information about the number of segments in the transaction set and the transaction set control number.

GE (Functional Group Trailer)

The GE segment marks the end of a functional group. It contains information about the number of transaction sets in the functional group and the functional group control number.

IEA (Interchange Control Trailer)

The IEA segment marks the end of the interchange. It contains information about the number of functional groups in the interchange and the interchange control number.

Within an ANSI 837 file, there are several segments that play distinct roles in organizing and transmitting data. Some of the prominent segments include:

  • 1000A – Payer Name
  • 1000B – Payee Name
  • 2000A – Billing Provider
  • 2000B – Subscriber
  • 2000C – Other Subscriber
  • 2000D – Rendering Provider
  • 2300 – Claim Information
  • 2400 – Service Line Information

Each of these segments contains specific data elements that are crucial for the processing and interpretation of the ANSI 837 file. Understanding the purpose and structure of these segments is essential for accurately exchanging healthcare claim information.

Types of Transactions

As the healthcare industry is diverse, so are the types of transactions. Let's examine the three primary transaction types:

ANSI 837 Professional

The ANSI 837 Professional transaction is primarily used for professional healthcare services rendered by individual providers. This transaction type encompasses services such as office visits, consultations, and diagnostic procedures.

ANSI 837 Institutional

On the other hand, the ANSI 837 Institutional transaction is for institutional healthcare services performed in facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, and inpatient rehabilitation centers. This transaction type covers services such as surgeries, inpatient stays, and emergency room visits.

ANSI 837 Dental

Lastly, the ANSI 837 Dental transaction caters specifically to dental services. This transaction type transmits data related to dental procedures, diagnoses, and other dental treatment information.

The Process of Creating and Transmitting

Common Challenges and Solutions with ANSI 837

Now that we have a solid understanding of the file and its structure, let's explore how it is created and transmitted.

Steps to Create an ANSI 837 File

  1. Gather the necessary data: Collect all the relevant patient and healthcare service information required for the claim submission. This includes patient demographics, insurance information, and details of the services rendered.
  2. Use a compatible software system: Employ a healthcare billing or practice management system capable of generating ANSI 837 files. These systems streamline the process by automatically populating the necessary segments and fields.
  3. Validate the data: Ensure the accuracy and integrity of the data entered into the system. Perform rigorous checks to identify and rectify any errors or inconsistencies.
  4. Generate: Utilize the software system to generate a file that adheres to the specific transaction type required.


Once the file is created, it needs to be transmitted to the payer for claim processing. In most cases, this involves establishing a secure connection with the payer's designated electronic data interchange (EDI) system.

EDI VANs (Value-Added Networks) or direct connections, such as secure FTP or AS2, are commonly used for transmission. The ANSI 837 file is securely transmitted from the healthcare provider to the payer, ensuring data privacy and integrity.

Common Challenges and Solutions with ANSI 837

While ANSI 837 streamlines the claims process, several challenges can arise. Being aware of these challenges and their solutions is crucial.

Dealing with Errors

An error in an ANSI 837 file can hinder the claim processing and reimbursement process. Common errors include incorrect codes, missing data, or mismatched information. Consequently, it's vital to perform thorough data validation during the file creation process. Capturing accurate and complete data at the source minimizes errors and increases the chances of successful claim processing.

Ensuring Compliance with ANSI 837 Standards

Compliance with these standards is essential for seamless data interchange. Staying up to date with the latest standards and guidelines set by ASC X12 is crucial. Healthcare organizations should invest in training and education to ensure their staff members are well-equipped to follow the compliance guidelines effectively.

By understanding the basics, its structure, transaction types, and the process of creating and transmitting an ANSI 837 file, healthcare professionals can navigate the complex world of electronic claims submission with confidence. Embracing this format and leveraging its benefits ultimately contributes to more efficient healthcare operations and improved patient care.

Going Forward With BillFlash

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