Healthcare

Anthem Launches Mobile Healthcare Payments

healthcare smartphone

A payment app being launched by health insurer Anthem Inc. will allow consumers use their smartphones to schedule and pay for medical visits, get diagnoses and text with doctors.

People can use the service even if they’re not Anthem customers, The Wall Street Journal reports. The app, called CareSpree, will roll out this month in Indiana before expanding to other states in Anthem’s territory.

“We want to be able to expand access to care and help with navigation, and we want to do it for all consumers, not just Anthem members,” Rajeev Ronanki, Anthem’s chief digital officer, told the news outlet. “Clearly, this is an opportunity to innovate on the business model.”

The new app will also tie in other features, including video doctor visits. Using a chat function powered by New York startup K Health Inc., artificial intelligence can suggest potential medical diagnoses for consumers and then connect them with a doctor over text for follow-up advice.

Other companies working on apps and digital tools include UnitedHealth Group Inc., CVS Health Corp. and Cigna Corp. 

Mergers and acquisitions in healthcare are second only to those among technology companies. More than $260 billion worth of deals took place in the healthcare sector through June 2019.

As 5G deployments begin, the people who run hospitals and medical offices, along with companies that supply healthcare devices and payment services, are starting to consider ways to leverage the quicker speed and other features of the new mobile network technology.

UnitedHealth Group, the parent company of the largest U.S. health insurer, UnitedHealthcare, announced in June it will purchase healthcare payments company Equian for around $3.2 billion. Equian handles payment processing operations for insurers and healthcare companies. 

The Equian platform, based in Indianapolis, works with upwards of $500 billion in health-related claims a year as well as nine of the 10 biggest payers in the industry. It analyzes claims pre- and post-payment to search for aberrations in the payments system.

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