Premera Goes On-line for Doctors
Providers Statewide Gain On-line Access to Necessary Information
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA -- Aug. 14, 2003 -- Starting this week, Premera Blue Cross will make it possible for 21,000 contracted health care professionals in Washington and Alaska to access patient insurance benefit and eligibility information on-line – an advance that will increase office efficiency and support providers in improving patient care.
As the largest health care plan carrier in the region to make this information available, Premera will give physicians and providers real-time, on-line ability to:
- Verify eligibility and benefit information coverage for members enrolled in Premera Dimensions? plans, including year-to-date deductible and benefit information.
- View plan effective dates and basic demographic information for all Premera members.
- Check payment status of submitted claims for members enrolled in Dimensions plans.
- Access formulary information on generic and brand name drugs, tiered co-pay information and a list of alternative drugs.
"Doctors have enough to worry about just making sure patients are well cared for," said Alan Smit, Premera Blue Cross senior vice president and chief information officer. "Time is at a premium, and office staff can't afford to spend it tethered to a phone trying to verify patient insurance coverage. Making information easily available allows doctors to better care for their patients and reduce administrative overhead."
Information provided on-line previously required a phone call to a Customer Service representative during regular business hours.
On-line information is one of the cornerstones of the DimensionsTM suite of health care coverage products, which also provide members with greater choice and flexibility, and comprehensive care facilitation and disease management programs.
To protect the privacy of patient data, physicians and providers who access Premera's on-line information at www.premera.com will automatically be routed through OneHealthPort, a secure, password protected Web "portal" that verifies the user's authorization to view patient information.
"OneHealthPort will offer real efficiencies in reducing our transaction costs," said Richard Cooper, chief executive officer of the Everett Clinic – a 200-physician multi-specialty group practice in Snohomish County. "This new on-line resource allows doctors to get answers immediately. As a result, service to patients will improve and care delivery won't be delayed just because of an unanswered coverage question."
Though Premera could have offered password-protected access directly to its Premera.com site, it joined other leading Northwest health care organizations to create the OneHealthPort Web portal for two reasons:
- Provider convenience: Using only one password, providers will eventually gain access to information from all participating health plans.
- Reduced costs: OneHealthPort participating organizations will share the cost of security administration and encryption – costs that each group otherwise would have incurred individually, and likely would have passed along to customers.
Premera is the first health plan to have its on-line provider information available through OneHealthPort. Others, including First Choice Health Network, Group Health Cooperative, Regence Blue Shield and Providence Health Systems, will eventually offer access to member information through the portal.
"This on-line access is one more way Dimensions helps meet the needs of our members and providers," said Smit.
Last September, Premera became the first Washington-based health insurer to offer similar on-line access to members. Employers gained the ability to administer their Premera benefits on-line last January.
Premera Blue Cross is part of the Premera family of companies based in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, with operations in Seattle, Spokane, Portland and Bend (Oregon), and Anchorage. Premera companies provide health coverage and related services to 1.5 million subscribers and families in Washington, Oregon and Alaska, and have operated in Washington since 1933 and Alaska since 1957. An Oregon affiliate, LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon joined the Premera family of companies in 1994. Premera Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
For more information, please contact Scott Forslund at (425) 918-5070 (office), (800) 345-4959 (pager), or (425) 918-5575 (fax); or Chris Jarvis at (425) 918-3368 (office), (800) 246-8516 (pager), or (425) 918-5575 (fax).