Friday, October 16, 2009

It's Getting Better

In my last blog, I pointed out that my industry —health insurers—takes a lot of heat for what’s wrong with our health care system. I admit that health care insurers have to change, like everyone else. That’s why my industry’s proposal for health reform brings everyone into the system, guarantees coverage for all Americans, does away with pre-existing condition limitations and ends ratings based on health status and gender.

But I also want to point out something that most people don’t realize: Quietly over the last 5 or so years, most health insurance plans have added features and programs that improve health, make it easier to deal with our complicated health care system or cut overall health care costs. These new features don’t solve all our health care woes, but they have made inroads into addressing some of our most complex challenges.

Many of the improvements to health insurance over the past few years result from the application of advanced data processing and other technologies. Here are some examples:
  • Real-time claims adjudication. Doctor’s offices can now submit their claims online and know within 10 seconds if a procedure is covered by the patient’s health plan, instead of having to wait days or weeks.
  • Medical data synchronization. New data processing software such as the eSync platform collects and synchronizes medical data from a variety of sources, analyzes it and converts it into individual health care recommendations for specific patients.
  • The medical swipe card. Patients swipe the medical swipe card through a device similar to a credit card swipe to give caregivers access to all appropriate patient eligibility information and to the patient’s health records. With the card, the physician is able to submit claim forms online and receive approvals from the insurance company in a matter of seconds.

All of these innovations have made maneuvering the health care system easier while reducing administrative costs.

But those aren’t the only changes that have improved health insurance. When I get more time, I’ll list a few more.

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