CHICAGO, June 30 Making better use of
technology could reap savings of $332 billion across the U.S.
health care system over a decade, UnitedHealth Group Inc
(UNH.N) said in a report released on Tuesday.
The report identifies ways that technology can be applied
to save money by modernizing the administrative and
transactional aspects of health care.
For example, use of automated cards swiped at the doctor's
office or hospital to validate patient benefits could generate
$18 billion in savings alone, according to the paper.
"Other sectors of the economy have mastered it long ago,
and it's time for healthcare to catch up," Simon Stevens,
UnitedHealth Group executive vice president, said on a
conference call with media.
UnitedHealth, the largest U.S. health insurer by market
value, said its own technology systems annually process 60
billion transactions and support 82 million calls routed to
20,000 service agents.
The report proposes 12 broad changes to the system,
including replacing "explanation of benefits" letters with
monthly personalized health statements and creating a national
clearinghouse to address payment errors and settle payment
Physicians and hospitals would garner about half of the
$332 billion in savings identified in the report, while the
government would capture about 20 percent through Medicare and
Medicaid and health plans the remaining 30 percent,
(Reporting by Susan Kelly; editing by Carol Bishopric)