(from Advance for Health Information Executives )

ADVANCE for Health Information Executives specializes in coverage of emerging e-health and computer-based patient record technologies. Published monthly, each issue features articles written by leading health care executives and consultants who discuss practical solutions and strategies for top-priority information systems challenges.

Do-it-yourself Health Care Online

Having employers manage health care benefits for self-insured companies just got a little bit easier, as more companies are turning to self-insurance in response to growing health care maintenance organization costs.


Headlines
"Self-directed health plans shift risk, cost to workers" - ACH in the Christian Science Monitor
August 12, 2002

"Uncovering Unbundling" - Article Featured in Human Resource Executive
May 3, 2002

"40 under 40" - Philadelphia Business Journal lists Clelland Green
March 29, 2002

ACH CEO Named to CareGain Board of Advisors
February 26, 2002

New model applies Internet to realize managed care's potential
November 1, 2001

Inc 500 rates America's Choice in country's top 500 growing companies
October 30, 2001

Philadelphia Business Journal features America's Choice
October 29, 2001

Philadelphia Inquirer features America's Choice
April 9, 2001

ACH Newsroom Main Page



Anticipating this shift, America's Choice Healthplans has combined self-insurance with the world of IT to deliver online benefits administration for companies that offer their own plans. In addition, as consumers become more educated, the health plan is also offering ways to empower employees to advocate for their own health.

The company, based in King of Prussia, Pa., has launched a redesign of its online benefits Web site, MyAmericasChoice.com. The site offers new features to employers who manage self-care plans.

Clelland Green, CEO of America's Choice Healthplans, hosted a launching party at America's Choice Healthplans new office location recently. Speaking to representatives from approximately 50 health care companies ranging from third-party administrators to other local businesses, Green explained how employers could check their employees' claims status, approve or disapprove employees for plans and check their history using the system.

He also explained how, using a click of the mouse, employees can order ID cards, find a doctor or check the status of their own claims. The process, he said, has become simplified -- competing with the bureaucracy of many provider organizations.

"We've been able to capture the market and simplify what often are cumbersome tasks," said Green. "These things are the real practical things that go on in the lives of our members."

A cornerstone of this online benefits administrator's business philosophy is involving employees in their care by tearing down the barriers that often exist in health care plans.

Health care facilities such as NovaCare Rehabilitation have recently signed on with America's Choice, making the number of members with the company grow exponentially, Green said.

One way America's Choice plans to grow its business is by offering wellness Web sites. Through a partnership with Bernardsville, N.J.-based Protocol Driver Health Inc. (PDHI), America's Choice Healthplans is able to offer a range of online chronic disease management resources, such as tools for asthma, diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Using MyAmericasChoice.com, employees can maintain health care diaries to track and record drug protocols and regimens, as well as disease episodes, in order to understand the cause and effect of their condition. The site also alerts doctors if the patient may be in danger (e.g., if the peak flow meter readings are too low for an asthma patient).

"Six percent of claims account for 60 percent of the payer's costs," said Green. By empowering consumers to be in charge of their own health care, America's Choice Healthplans is hoping that it can lower these costs.

The site also offers interactive health information, so patients can explore their illness and explore health news. While the site has just been redesigned, Green explained that the company is continually innovating and coming up with new designs.

"We don't just build on an old plan," said Green. "We continue to come up with new ideas and build to meet our customer's needs."

-Marci Landsmann
Ms. Landsmann, an associate editor at ADVANCE, can be reached
mlandsmann@merion.com.

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