Software Seeks To Help Customers Decipher Health Benefits
"Intuit (INTU), the company that simplified personal finance, hopes to help consumers untangle the complexity of health benefits and medical bills," CNNMoney reports. Earlier this year, Intuit introduced its Quicken Health Expense Tracker. This online software "translates medical jargon, shows the math behind the costs, and explains what to do next if there's a question or problem. The confusion about how much care costs, who pays what, and why is a major theme of the current health care debate. What isn't in dispute is the fact that individuals increasingly are taking greater responsibility for decisions around their health care. But they can't do so if they don't understand what they're buying."
"Quicken health software represents a totally different approach to health care IT than the one pursued by Microsoft (MSFT), GE (GE), IBM (IBM), and other tech giants. These major players are getting in the game with solutions for doctors and hospitals that digitize health records, spurred by $20 billion in stimulus funds from the Obama administration. But Intuit, too, sees an opportunity to help insurance providers better communicate with their customers by offering the tool at no cost to plan participants. ... The software appeals to the insurers, because it can cut down on the number of customer-service calls and queries now directed at the various players in the health-care ecosystem: employers, network providers like doctors and hospitals, and the insurers themselves" (Shambora, 8/27).