"Smart" medical debit cards on the rise

New research is predicting that with the growth in consumer-driven health plans, the industry will come to rely on "smart" debit cards linking clinical data, health plan coverage/eligibility information and personal identity details. The study, conducted by HealthLeaders/Interstudy, predicts that in time, a single card will have access to a consumer's bank, payor and provider systems. In this world, it will be possible for a consumer to see a provider, get benefits verified, a claim adjudicated and the payment debited from their health savings account. This could transform provider collection cycles from a months-long nightmare into an instant transaction, researchers noted. In fact, insurers are already pilot-testing flavors of this approach, including Humana and UnitedHealth. But fully realizing the smart debit vision could be very tricky. With physicians typically working with 15 or more health plans and running their practices with one of more than a thousand practice management software platforms, designing a card with enough computing power to tie everything together won't be easy, they suggest.

Find out more about smart medical debit cards:
- read the study summary

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