Insurers to Seek Methods to Control for Health Care Administrative

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Bush administration announced Monday it will bring together major insurers for a meeting to find ways to reduce administrative costs in the nation's health care system.

But Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan said that while he believes some savings can be achieved by streamlining administrative costs, recent studies showing large savings are unrealistic.

Some studies have shown administrative costs account for at least 20 percent of the more than $600 billion spent annually in this country on health care.

"We think these studies are flawed and that the public is being misled," Sullivan said in a speech at a health care conference.

"Nevertheless, we do believe an examination of administrative burdens is long overdue."

HHS officials have estimated that administrative expenses account for about 13 percent of private health care costs.

At the meeting, administration officials will discuss with insurance company executives what the government could do "to constrain any unnecessary administrative expenditures, as well as reduce or eliminate needless paperwork,"

Sullivan said.

The meeting will be held "in the next month or so," he said.

Sullivan has been conducting a study of the problems in the nation's health care system and is to recommend to President Bush changes that can be made to improve access to care and to reduce the costs of medical care. …