Smart Card A Great Idea, But When?

It costs about $19 to process a single health care claim, according to a survey by Milliman & Robertson, the actuarial firm. Now, an electronic system designed to whittle the cost and time involved in claims resolution may be around the corner.

RealMed, an Indianapolis-based software developer and system integrator, plans to unveil a “smart card” system electronically linking physicians with payers–thus eliminating paper work, cutting claims adjudication time to minutes and, says RealMed, slashing claims processing costs by 70 percent.

Sounds great, but for now, RealMed is a middleman without anyone on either side. At a news conference, Todd Morris, vice president for marketing, announced the system would “go live this spring,” but refused to name participating insurers or even a debut market–saying cryptically, “We are committed to finding a geography and partners that will ensure the critical mass to be able to penetrate a market.” Pressed, Morris admitted that no payers or physicians had signed contracts. Perhaps spring is a bit optimistic?


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