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New Firm Plans to Remedy Healthcare Business

A newly formed company Wednesday revealed its plan to take the business of healthcare online and make it as easy as to use as an ATM.

MedUnite, working with big-name partners, plans to connect all physicians and insurers so they can communicate easily, accurately and inexpensively with their existing systems, according to Dave Cox, president and chief executive officer.

"Healthcare business transactions account for about a $250 billion share of a $1.2 trillion industry that desperately needs an information technology solution," said Cox. "No one - insurers, physicians or patients - benefits from spending that kind of money on paperwork."

Via the MedUnite Inc. real-time transaction system, healthcare providers and insurers will be able streamline procedures and send and receive eligibility and benefits verification, claim submission, claim status, referrals and authorizations using Internet technology.

Partners in the venture include healthcare insurers: Aetna, Anthem, CIGNA, Health Net Inc., Oxford, PacifiCare and WellPoint Health Networks; and technology providers: Computer Sciences Corp., Deloitte Consulting, Sun Microsystems Inc. and XCare.net.

The combination of providers involved is a win-win situation, Cox added.

"Who better than our founding investors in the insurance industry to know the demands of the transactional system they helped to build, and therefore how we can automate the system while maintaining its integrity?" he asked. "Physician advisory group partners bring insights as to where that system can most benefit from simplification. The technology team brings the expertise and experience needed to implement this system in the most cost-effective way."

The insurance element will be an open-access system, noted Warren Levy, a spokesperson for MedUnite. "All insurance providers can participate," he said. "The more providers who participate, the more effective the system will be."

Further, the system is designed to provide physicians with a standard, easy to use method for transacting business with the majority of insurance plans. "This will result in faster reimbursement for claims and instant approvals on eligibility and authorizations for service," Cox said.

The transaction system is expected to debut in July 2001.