Gov. Tim Pawlenty outlined proposals to let state employees access their healthcare records online and pay out-of-pocket medical expenses with the swipe of a debit card.
He said all state employees will get a $250 reimbursement account to cover out-of-pocket costs because the state employee health plan is doing better than expected. Premiums will go up 4% or less next year, instead of 10% as projected. The reimbursement cash will come on a debit card to minimize paperwork.
The changes are part of a push to give consumers more control over healthcare and spending. The plan is to give state employees the option of accessing their medical records through a secure Web site next year, at a cost of $600,000. The governor's goal is to make the Web-accessed records available to most Minnesotans by 2011. The idea is to let consumers see their records through a Web site and share them electronically, with a minimum of fuss.
The state's system has yet to be built, and officials said it would comply with federal privacy laws.
Pawlenty also said more information is coming. Next year the state's private health plans will post data about providers' prices and quality on a yet-to-be-unveiled Web site.