The 2006 World Health Care Congress

By Staff Report

Apr. 20, 2006

Event: The 2006 World Health Care Congress

April 17-19, 2006, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C.

What: A deep plunge into the issues of rising health care costs and what businesses, insurance companies, doctors, hospitals and others can do to address what has become one of the most pressing national—and international—economic issues.

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Show notes:

Date: Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Buzzword: “Consumer-driven”

Engagement party: Companies lined up to tell stories of how they reduced costs by “engaging the consumer.” Textron reported that three years after switching to a high-deductible health plan, costs are decreasing. Other companies are beginning to offer high-deductible plans, including AT&T and American Express, the latter of which has created a new credit card to integrate health savings accounts and pay for out-of-pocket costs. Lowe’s executives talked about the company’s efforts to create “transparency”—another buzzword—by culling data from doctors nationwide in order to rank them by efficiency, cost and quality.

Changing the subject: UnitedHealth Group CEO William McGuire, embroiled in reports of improper stock-option granting to executives amid missed earnings reports and sagging stocks, chose instead to speak of the power of technology to transform health care. McGuire envisions a future when a “smart card” credit card contains a patient’s medical history.

–Jeremy Smerd


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