UnitedHealth Group’s (NYSE:UNH) health information technology subsidiary Ingenix is buying yet another company that could help it cut administrative costs in healthcare — A-Life Medical — for an undisclosed amount.
It would be the sixth acquisition for Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Ingenix since the beginning of the year and the eighth since early last year when it became clear the Obama administration and Democratic leaders aimed to reform the nation’s healthcare system mostly by reforming its insurance industry. UnitedHealth is the largest U.S. health insurer.
San Diego-based A-Life Medical’s LifeCode technology makes sense of doctor-patient interactions via the Internet and codes them for insurance billing, replacing the need for manual coding.
Last year, Ingenix struck a strategic alliance with A-Life Medical to develop advanced coding solutions for the healthcare market, the Minnesota company said in a press release. Together the companies will speed development of advanced coding tools for billing services providers, physician practices and in-patient and out-patient providers, as well as for more medical specialties, according to the release.
“Combining A-Life Medical with Ingenix is an extension of our strategic alliance that enables deeper integration of our complementary technologies to create more powerful coding solutions for our clients,” Bill Miller, executive vice president of healthcare delivery solutions, said in prepared remarks.
“Even as the volume of medical claims grows, health care providers face increasing pressure to reduce administrative costs. These challenges will become more acute as 30 million more Americans obtain health insurance because of health care reform,” Miller said.
Healthcare organizations also are headed toward the Statistical Classification of Disease and Related Health Problems standard — a sophisticated index of more than 155,000 codes that describe medical conditions and their severity — which is being mandated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services when encoding medical documents by Oct. 1, 2013.