UnitedHealthcare hopes cards bring customers

Dan Krajnovich thinks UnitedHealthcare’s new and improved swipe cards will help his company add more doctors to its network of providers, boosting its competitiveness in the marketplace.

The cards, which can be swiped through any credit-card-style reader, gives providers access to a secured UnitedHealthcare Web portal that includes a patient’s past medical claims, specifics on his or her insurance coverage, and the opportunity for instant claims decisions by UnitedHealthcare’s processing staff.

"Our drive is to have a high level of provider satisfaction," said Krajnovich, CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Indiana and Kentucky region. "If we can employ these types of advancements in technology where it makes those transactions between the two organizations a much simpler process, then providers are going to want to join the UnitedHealthcare network."

The number of providers in an insurer’s network is a key selling point to employers when they choose a health insurance company. Employer-sponsored insurance, also called commercial insurance, is the most profitable segment of the industry.

In the Indianapolis area, Minnesota-based UnitedHealthcare ranks as the second-largest health insurer. It claims 14.4 percent of commercial enrollment, according to July data from Tennessee-based HeathLeaders-InterStudy.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Indiana leads the Indianapolis-area market with 33.5 percent of commercial members, according to HealthLeaders-InterStudy. It also has the largest provider network.

UnitedHealthcare began distributing the cards to its members across the country last month. UnitedHealthcare claims about 500,000 patients in Indiana.

In the future, UnitedHealthcare hopes to link the cards to a patient’s health savings account so bills can be paid on the spot, with just the one card. Right now, customers with health savings accounts typically wait several weeks while insurance claims are processed before finding out how much they must pay from their accounts.

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