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Internet Saves UnitedHealthcare Time.

By using a new Internet exchange to communicate with some of its brokers, UnitedHealthcare has reduced its business cycle time with those brokers from 30 days to three days, a company executive said.

The business cycle includes quoting, selling and putting coverage into effect. Since implementing the exchange, "I have seen a case go through in half a day," said Jeni McGill, vice president of health-care economics at UnitedHealthcare.

The exchange was launched through a partnership with Channel-Point to allow brokers to electronically submit and receive proposals. UnitedHealthcare, based in Minnetonka, Minn., undertook the project more than two years ago because it recognized that its processes and distribution were inefficient. Technology was an opportunity to reduce distribution costs and eliminate duplication of work, McGill said.

As part of reducing total cycle time, the exchange has increased the percentage of requests for proposals received with complete data from brokers from 6% to 95% and reduced the average time needed to send a proposal letter from 38 hours to 30 minutes. The exchange includes five sites and about 250 brokers, McGill said. The projected annual net benefit--once fully implemented--is about $245 million.

James Hollen, vice president, business development, for ChannelPoint, said expectations for the growth of business-to-business e-cornmerce, such as the UnitedHealthCare exchange, are high. In 1998, $8 billion of e-commerce was consumer oriented and $43 billion was business-to-business. By 2003, business-to-business e-commerce is expected to reach $1.3 trillion.
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Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2000
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