6 Managed-Care Firms Forming Internet Venture

From Associated Press

Six large managed-care companies, including California insurers Foundation Health Systems, WellPoint Health Networks and PacifiCare Health Systems, are developing a jointly operated Internet venture in an effort to reduce administrative hassles for doctors and patients and directly compete with online health service upstart Healtheon/WebMD Corp.

The consortium would try to shift to the Web paperwork used in health-care transactions. Healtheon and other Internet sites are working to do that by establishing better electronic contacts between insurers and doctors. They plan to make money by charging fees for each transaction they process.

Aetna, Cigna and Oxford Health Plans also are involved in discussions to form the alliance.