OPM: Federal Benefit Plans Leveraging HealthIT

The Office of Personnel Management released its Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Report on Health Information Technology and Transparency with 92 percent of federal employees health plans taking proactive steps to educate members of the benefits of health information technology.

“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.”

Other findings from the study 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).

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