FAIR Health -- a not-for-profit organization created as a result of a 2009 settlement agreement between the New York state attorney general's office, UnitedHealth Group and other insurers -- recently launched an online health insurance claims database for academic researchers, American Medical News reports (Berry, American Medical News, 8/8).
In January 2009, UnitedHealth Group agreed to pay $50 million to settle an investigation conducted by then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D). Cuomo alleged that the insurer's subsidiary Ingenix ran a flawed database that underpaid physicians for out-of-network care.
The settlement called for the creation of FAIR Health, which was tasked with developing health care cost comparison tools (iHealthBeat, 7/21/11).
Database Available to Researchers
The new FAIR Health database offers a set of tools to help academic researchers examine how privately insured residents use health care services.
Robin Gelburd, president of FAIR Health, said that the database offers information from more than 70 private insurers and that the data are as recent as three months old.
Interested researchers will need to submit an application and pay to access the data. Fees will depend on the type and amount of information requested, as well as the type of organization requesting the data.
Other FAIR Health Tools
FAIR Health already has launched a database aimed at helping insurers determine rates for out-of-network health care services.
The not-for-profit group also has launched a consumer-focused website to help individuals estimate costs for out-of-network care (American Medical News, 8/8).