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MINNEAPOLIS (Feb. 4, 2009) – Consistent with its ongoing commitment to make it easier for physicians to administer health care, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is the first to apply new industry standards to customer health care ID cards across all its businesses. This gives physicians and other care providers simpler access to more real-time information about their patients, while also advancing a single data platform for health care ID cards industrywide.
UnitedHealth Group is the first national health company to take this step for all its health plans and has already begun issuing new cards for some employer-sponsored health plans, as well as Medicaid, Medicare, dental and vision plans. Nearly 25 million of the new cards will be issued by the end of 2009.
“These new national standards will create a single platform that simplifies the exchange of information between insurers and care providers so that verifying important patient information will be as easy as a swipe of a card,” said Peter Barry, co-chair, WEDI Workgroup for National Provider Identifier Implementation and CEO, Enumeron, LLC. “We thank UnitedHealth Group for participating in this important endeavor and for being the first to advance these new standards across all its businesses.”
New national standards now require health care ID cards to include a magnetic stripe that can be read through a standard card-reader machine, and also be designed with a standard layout to increase readability and be compliant with the National Council for Prescription Programs. The new cards will enable this enhanced swiping capability by using what is referred to as the ‘third track’ of the magnetic stripe on the back of the card.