Health insurance company executives headed to Las Vegas this week to look for ways to use software and market incentives to cope with mounting pressure to control medical costs.
The executives traveled to the desert for the annual conference of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington.
Many of the corporate sponsors who help finance the event were pharmacy benefits managers, software companies, data services companies and health account administrators.
One of the most unusual event give-aways was a miniature, complimentary personal health record CD from Bio-Imaging Technologies Inc, Newtown, Pa. – a symbol of efforts to get the U.S. health care system to adopt the kinds of standardized electronic health record systems that help hold down health care administrative costs in Europe and other parts of the world.
The need to reform the U.S. system is critical, speakers told AHIP conference session attendees at the general sessions.
The speakers addressed the conference attendees as distributors were preparing to premiere “Sicko,” Michael Moore’s film about the U.S. health finance system, and presidential candidates in both the Democratic and Republican parties have been talking about the issue.
One of the general session speakers was Newt Gingrich, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination who began laying the groundwork for his run several years ago, by working with Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and others to develop health system reform proposals.
Another general session speaker was Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who discussed his efforts to expand access to health coverage in California.
“I respect your right to provide a service, earn a reasonable profit for that service and to compete in the marketplace,” Schwarzenegger said, according to a written version of his remarks. “But we all must do more to reform the system…. Doctors, hospitals, government, individuals and – yes – insurers.”