So, back in the day, billing insurance was fairly easy. Here’s how it worked. You (or your offspring, as below) went to your family doctor. Family doctor saw you. After seeing you, the doctor would write something incomprehensible in your chart, which he gave to the “girl” up front. The “girl” would then check off your diagnosis and what doc did on a piece of paper. Usually you got the carbon copy, and the doc’s office kept the original. This paper was called a “superbill”. I don’t know why.
The original of this superbill was then sent to your insurance company. Large insurance companies would receive envelopes full of superbills, which would be sent on to claims examiners to work.
Back in the day, when I first started working in insurance, people still smoked at work. Even in the back offices of some doctors’ offices, believe it or not! We’d get superbills from doctor’s offices, and when you would open the envelope, a waft of stale smoke smell would come out. Sometimes the superbills had bits of lunch, or coffee cup rings on them. This could make processing difficult if someone’s tuna on rye was obscuring a piece of important information.
Needless to say, this was time-consuming and the information on the claim wasn’t very detailed. And so changes came across the land, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.