UnitedHealth Group and Humana are launching a pilot program to study whether blockchain technology can help track provider information.
As a patient, finding a doctor in-network on your health plan can make a big difference when it comes to out of pocket costs. For insurers and the doctors they contract with, finding a better way to keep provider lists up to date, could make a big difference when it comes to administrative costs.
“From the perspective of the provider organizations … (they) can work with up to dozens of insurance plans, and each of the plans are individually requesting or verifying the provider information,” said Mike Jacobs, senior distinguished engineer with UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division.
The administrative costs of updating and tracking down that information are estimated to be more than $2 billion dollars a year for the health-care industry. Yet, in 2016 federal health officials found that nearly half of provider listings for Medicare Advantage plans were inaccurate, with incorrect provider addresses and phone numbers.
Now, UnitedHealth Group and its Medicare rival Humana are launching a pilot program together to study whether blockchain technology, with its system of decentralized ledgers, can help fix the problem.