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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 14, 2011
Contact: Brittney Manchester
Tel: 202-606-2402

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Report on Health IT Shows Progress

Washington, DC - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) Report on Health Information Technology (HIT) and Transparency. This report shows that 92 percent of FEHBP health plans have taken proactive steps to educate their members on the value of HIT.

"OPM is working with the private insurance companies in the FEHBP market to increase their use of HIT because it results in better care as well as cost savings," said OPM Director John Berry.  "The taxpayers save twice: healthier workers are more productive and we'll save insurance costs in the long run.  More and more Americans will benefit from these investments as the Affordable Care Act increases the number of Americans with private health insurance."

HIT tools help consumers organize health information, access information targeted to their health needs and determine the quality and cost of doctors, hospitals and other providers. HIT also allows patients, healthcare providers and health plans to share information securely, driving down costs by avoiding duplicate procedures and manual transactions.

Many FEHBP plans have made significant progress on their HIT, personal health records (PHR), and healthcare cost transparency initiatives since the last report in 2010. This year's findings include:

  • 97 percent of plans, representing 98 percent of total FEHBP enrollment, have PHRs available to their members. PHRs allow plan members to access their medical claims history online. For the last two years, only 86 percent of plans reported that they offered PHRs to their members. Before that, in 2008, 75 percent of plans offered PHRs and in 2007 only 51 percent of plans offered PHRs.
  • Member use of PHRs varies widely.  Some plans report about 6 percent of members use PHRs while others indicate that all members use them.  Overall, use is gradually increasing.  Earlier reports showed fewer than 5 percent of members use PHRs.
  • 59 percent of plans reported they have online physician or hospital cost estimators or comparison tools on their websites.
  • 75 percent of plans reported they have online tools that compare physician or hospital quality.
  • 75 percent of plans reported their physicians can order prescriptions online.
  • 100 percent of FEHBP plans indicated they provide members with access to privacy policies describing their compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

This program-wide Report is based on individual reports collected from health plans participating in the FEHBP. This is the fifth year that this Report has been published.

For additional information, please view the names of the FEHBP Health Plan Leaders at http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/reference/hittransparency.asp and a copy of the entire HIT and Transparency report for 2011 at http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/reference/hitreport2011.pdf.

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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