Humana Unveils Online, Customized Health Plan
Humana Inc. yesterday launched an online health plan that will allow members to "customize the plan" to their needs, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Called Emphesys, the "paperless health plan" allows employers to "settle" on a fixed amount that they will contribute to an employee's insurance. Employees will cover the remainder, which will vary depending on the options they select; however, to start, the plan will have a standardized rate. Besides customizing health plans, patients will also have access to their medical records, "health coaching services" and a rating system for doctors and hospitals" (Dooley, Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/18). The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that Humana will maintain the customized information in a "highly secure system," but providers, patients, employers and insurance brokers will have access to the data. Currently, the system only operates in Tennessee, but Humana plans to roll out Emphesys nationwide by the end of 2002. Michael McCallister, Humana's president and CEO, said the system "signals the coming end of the era of managed care" (Watson, Memphis Commercial Appeal, 10/18). Other insurers are developing similar systems, which will "help eliminate" employee "frustration" with limited choices of employer sponsored plans (Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/18). Jeffrey Pittsburg, a health care industry analyst with Pittsburg Research, said the system will "cut down on time and ... save money" (Memphis Commercial Appeal, 10/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.