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Home Screening for Self Funded Benefit Employers Offered Via United Healthcare for Mail In Lab Results to Screen for Diabetes an

Posted May 14 2010 12:06pm

The mail order business is certainly in the news today with patients “doing it yourself” at home.  First we have the controversial genetics test this week being image offered over the counter and now one more addition here with lab results you do at home.  This is limited as I read here to employers who self fund, in other words pay for their employees health care but use an insurance company to do the administration.

This is also another way to capture the employee’s attention and drive participation over to the online United Healthcare PHR.  If you don’t get tested at your doctor’s office you now can do it at home and discuss at your next visit.  The focus is clearly for corporate marketing as shown on the website with finding out earlier if you have healthy or not so healthy employees.   The company includes health risk assessments which recently changed due to the new GINA law where family history cannot be included. 

Also it appears as a single consumer you can enroll for your own lab tests without insurance backing and test costs start at around $25.00. 

I see the service as a convenience but once again I look at privacy issues here and the accumulation of additional data and again question whether or not the information within the PHR used by United can be used with “scoring” procedures used to pay claims.  Recently in the news there’s the pay for performance items with Walgreen pharmacies and the YMCA getting paid from United Healthcare to enroll patients into their various programs.  image

Also, AARP has their buses going out for screening too, and AARP markets health insurance plans from United Healthcare.  With all these recent moves and marketing combinations it is a pretty clear message somebody representing insurance coverage wants you screened one way or another.  I think a conversation still between doctor and patient is still required though before jumping on the bandwagon here too, as they may be set up with other arrangements and work with a lab that already may have a history of your screenings too, something to think and ask about before jumping out there.  We still need the doctor/patient relationship.

Taking the results and putting them in your own PHR might also be an option here so you can share where and when you want as a patient.  The corporate sell here also involves the wellness coach concept too and there’s a lot of that still up for discussion as biometrics are entering the communication areas here and it needs image to be productive and helpful, not disruptive to command and demand compliance.  If not done right, that is what you end up with and everyone hates it as it takes on the appearance of bottom line dollar investments and not healthcare driven for the consumers with data collected that can be used against you when paying for claims and underwriting.  BD 

MINNETONKA, Minn.--( BUSINESS WIRE )--UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is now offering at-home health screening kits as part of corporate wellness programs for employers. The health screening kits enable employees to more easily test for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Test results will help patients work with their doctors to detect conditions early and develop appropriate treatment plans.

The kits, developed by Santa Barbara, Calif.-based BioIQ , are available nationwide to employers who self-fund their health benefit plans. Each BioIQ at-home health screening kit contains components and instructions for drawing a tiny blood sample, from a finger prick, that is mailed to a certified laboratory for analysis. The easy-to-understand lab reports, along with personalized health recommendations based in part on the test results, are available through password-protected accounts on BioIQ’s secure Web portal. In addition, the lab reports are automatically populated into the patient’s online health assessment and personal health record on www.myuhc.com

The kits test for both heart disease and diabetes from one small blood sample – only a few drops of blood are required. For heart disease, they measure the amount of total cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol value. The kits also include a choice of diabetes tests – either for A1c, which measures average blood sugar over the past 90 days, or glucose, which measures blood sugar at the time of testing.

Hat Tip:  Medgadget

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