Doctor fee database set to launch

November 4, 2009

By year’s end, Americans will have access via a Web site to a new database that will allow them to track what Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc. and other health insurers pay doctors who are not in their pre-negotiated networks, according to Bloomberg News.

The not-for-profit database is being funded with $100 million in legal settlements from 12 health insurers as part of a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

He said insurers were using the Ingenix database, owned by Minnesota-based UnitedHealthcare, which used faulty data in order to reduce payments to doctors, which left patients with larger bills.

The 12 insurers have agreed to use the database, hosted at Syracuse University, to set the rates they’ll pay when their customers receive services from physicians that are “out of network,” which means the doctor has not agreed in advance to give the insurer a discount.

WellPoint settled with Cuomo by agreeing to pay $10 million. UnitedHealthcare paid the most: $50 million.

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