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UPMC Health Plan Speeds Service, Cuts Costs with Web Applications

Pittsburgh, Pa. (May 1, 2002) UPMC Health Plan has launched three Web site applications for employers, providers, and members that will lead to lower administrative costs, faster processing, and more value for the healthcare dollar.

Employer OnLine, launched in September 2001, allows employer groups to access and update their employees' health information without having to call the Health Plan. Using a customized software application, employers can electronically review and modify insurance information, verify benefits information, request a temporary ID card, add or subtract dependents for coverage, or change a primary care physician. More than 50 employer groups are participating.

Provider OnLine, launched in October 2001, allows hospitals, physicians, and other medical providers to check member eligibility and claims status through interactive claims messaging and to view benefits information, such as benefit limits and co-payment amounts. The success of the provider portal is evident in the decrease of calls coming into Provider Services. Network facilities using Provider OnLine accounted for a 57% decrease in call volume from December 2001 to January 2002 for claim status and eligibility inquiries.

"These new services give our employers and providers easy and immediate access 24 hours a day to the critical information they need in order to do their jobs," said Edward McCallister, Health Plan director of management information systems. "By logging on to the Internet through a secure connection, employers and providers can instantly view and change information without having to spend time on the phone."

Member OnLine, slated to be released in the second quarter of 2002, will enable members to confirm eligibility of family members, change primary care physicians, update mailing address information, and view benefit grids.

The programs are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and are free of charge. These sites are accessed through a secure link on the UPMC Health Plan home page, www.upmchealthplan.com.

Also in production is a web application for brokers, which will allow them to access their rate quotes by directly entering information into the Health Plan system. In so doing, brokers reduce the chances for manual error and, through an instant messaging feature of its own, greatly improve turnaround time.

"These Internet applications will help UPMC Health Plan cut administrative costs and speed service while saving premium dollars at the same time," said McCallister. "By the end of 2002, the Health Plan expects to have 3,100 physician practices, 1,360 employer groups, and 37,000 members doing business on line."

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, the Health Plan is a subsidiary of UPMC Health System, which has 31 merged and affiliated hospitals throughout western Pennsylvania. UPMC Health Plan members, in all lines of business, are served by some 6,600 physicians in partnership with 80 hospitals in 25 western Pennsylvania counties.

For more information on UPMC Health Plan, call 1-888-876-2756, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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