This excerpt taken from the UNH 8-K filed Dec 19, 2006.
ACCESS TO THEIR HEALTH CARE AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Minneapolis (August 14, 2006) To simplify how consumers manage and pay for their health care, and to help medical professionals reduce their administrative burden, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is enhancing its health benefit card technology. The Companys new technology will provide the information needed to promptly administer benefits and facilitate health transactions and payments, thus simplifying the process for patients and providing health care professionals with an administrative resource. The card will also convey essential health records that support care interventions. From a consumer perspective, these services transcend benefit plan boundaries and traditional geographic limits, enabling people to have their information and financial resources follow them across products or across the country.
Nearly 20 million people already have unique magnetic strip ID cards in their wallets. That card, which was first introduced by UnitedHealth Group three years ago to replace traditional paper ID cards, can verify eligibility and copay amounts with a simple swipe of the card. UnitedHealth Group, through its Exante Financial Services business, is now enhancing its card technology by combining both health care and financial information on a single card in order to support more informed health care consumers.
By combining health and financial information, we have greatly simplified a series of fragmented and time-consuming experiences for health care consumers, said John M. Prince, CEO of Exante Financial Services. People are being asked to exercise much more control over how they spend their health care dollars, so it is imperative that we give them the necessary tools to do that in a simple and efficient way.