On the same day the White House Council of Economic Advisors warned that any economic turn-around must include addressing health care costs, the health insurance companies’ trade association released a detailed plan of how to reduce the cost of providing health care from their industry.

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and five other medical groups sent a letter to the White House yesterday with specific details for the promises made at the White House in the beginning of May to find savings in the health care system.  AHIP proposes the creation of standard online forms for claims submissions, eligibility, claims status, payment, and remittance.  The forms would be universal for all private insurers and use would be mandatory.  Pilot programs for the new system are currently being run in New Jersey and Ohio.

In addition, the insurance industry has pledged to develop a model for personal health records, allowing seamless transition in care when a patient switched hospitals.“The effect throughout the health-care industry would be similar to the effect of ATMs being introduced throughout the banking system,” AHIP wrote in the letter.

While AHIP’s proposals pledged a series of new ways to streamline health care, the other organizations proposed continuing cost savings they had already begun implementing.  The letter was not met with universal regard, however; House Ways and Means ranking member Dave Camp (R-MI-4) requested the Congressional Budget Office score the letter’s cost-saving ideas.

The idea to create a standard on-line form for all health insurance needs would seem to save association and business employees’ time and hassle.

What do you think?  Will this actually create health care savings (in time and money) or is this just a good idea that fails to address the major costs in health care?

Robert Hay
Manager, Public Policy