Update

March 16, 2007

Professional and financial news you can use.

CARS

Is that used vehicle really accident-free?

IDENTITY THEFT

Where identity crooks are busiest

Now, some good news: A separate report found that the total amount of money lost to identity fraud dropped an estimated 12 percent from 2005 to 2006, with 500,000 fewer Americans falling victim, thanks to changes in industry and consumer behaviors.

REIMBURSEMENT

Blues bank capitalizes on HSAs

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) has launched a national bank to help enrollees in Blues plans manage their health savings accounts. People who have HSAs, which by law must be combined with high-deductible insurance policies, will be encouraged to transfer them to the new Blue Healthcare Bank. Blues plans in Arkansas, Idaho, Michigan, and South Carolina have agreed to use the bank for their consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs), and 12 to 15 more are expected to join by the end of the year. A total of 33 of 39 Blues licensees-including those owned by WellPoint-contributed funds to start the bank, which is expected to have approximately $500 million in deposits within three years.

The good news for physicians is that plans using the Blue Healthcare Bank will inform members what they owe at the point of care so that their HSAs, health reimbursement arrangements, or flexible spending accounts can be debited. Scott P. Serota, president and CEO of BCBSA, notes this should make it easier for physicians to collect from patients.

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