Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Neat Stuff: Tracking Medical Expenses

Employers have long asked insurance companies to make it easier for employees to keep track of medical expenses.

With the growing trend toward employees taking more ownership over health care decisions, employers have been concerned about getting their employees the information they need to navigate the complexities of health care. For example, research that Intuit Inc. conducted found that many people are overwhelmed by the paperwork associated with receiving medical care.

A number of health insurance companies have begun offering software that helps employees track their health care expenses online. This software works in real time to pull information from an employee’s health care claim making it easier to track doctor visits, prescriptions filled and account balances. The software complies with privacy laws and keeps the information confidential. At UnitedHealthcare, we use Intuit’s Quicken Expense Tracker.

Expense Tracker helps employees better navigate the health care system in several ways by:
  • Showing the calculations behind the amount billed and what is owed for each medical bill.
  • Giving the current status of the user’s deductibles and out-of-pocket spending and tracking medical expenses for tax reporting.
  • Sending email alerts if a claim has an outstanding balance after insurance payments.
  • Defining health care terms and codes in easy-to-understand language, which increases the user’s knowledge of health care.

Use of expense tracking software is voluntary on the part of employees. While larger employers have been the early adopters, more and more small business owners are making it available to their employees, too.

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