Mdsave Shared Services Inc. – InsuranceNewsNet

2022 NOV 08 (NewsRx) — By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Daily Veterinary News — According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by NewsRx journalists, a patent by the inventors Ketchel, III, Paul J. (Brentwood, TN, US), filed on December 6, 2021, was published online on October 18, 2022.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 11475498, is Mdsave Shared Services Inc. (Brentwood, Tennessee, United States).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: “Medical services are services provided to a medical patient. Some medical services may help improve or maintain a patient’s health, based on disease prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. The practice of medicine encompasses medical procedures performed for a patient, which may include both preventive care and treatment. Medical service providers include doctors, hospitals, and health insurers. A provider may offer medical services to patients by provisioning medical resources such as, for example, laboratory, imaging, treatment, or surgical facilities, to provide the services. Some medical services may require specially trained or licensed medical professionals. For example, a medical practice providing diagnosis and treatment for joint pain may provide medical services through the work of an orthopedic specialist. In some scenarios, patient access to a specialized professional or facility may be limited by cost, or availability. Some specialized medical professionals and related facilities may be scarce.

“A medical practice may also limit the medical procedures offered to patients based on the availability of specialized professionals and facilities at a given time or location as increasingly seen with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the services offered to a patient may be determined based on allocating surgeons to various surgical facility locations at specific times. Services supplied to patients may be limited to the allocated medical professionals and facilities, even when medical service demand exceeds supply at a given location or time. A medical practice providing many types of medical services may expend significant resources adapting the offered services to demand as cost and demand change. Some medical practices may fail to capture potential revenue lost when resources to provide medical services are underutilized relative to medical service demand.

“The price of healthcare services varies depending on specialty, procedure, and physician practice. In the United States, many patients do not have access to a simple way to shop and compare the price of common medical procedures. Due to the current managed care-based payor system in the US, the cost of treatment is often determined by managed care organizations.

“These managed care organizations have specific formularies for drugs and procedures designed specifically to patients’ individual health plans, which restrict the drugs and procedures available to patients in their plans. Patients have historically had no access to these price lists or formularies and have had very few tools to assist them in finding and comparing health care services or predetermining the cost of a procedure. Currently prospective patients who chose to compare medical costs are forced to conduct extensive, often inefficient, and time-consuming research to compare medical procedures prior to treatment.

“The rising cost of healthcare is having a dramatic effect on the U.S. healthcare system. Healthcare costs continue to outpace pace inflationary growth, provider reimbursement rates continue to fall, and the cost of patient insurance premiums are increasing. To lower monthly premium costs, many patients are choosing to purchase (and employers are choosing to offer) high deductible health plans as an alternative to traditional higher premium PPO health plans.

“These high deductible plans require patients to pay cash payments for medical services until the high deductible is satisfied, and once this deductible has been met, the insurance carrier begins to cover medical costs. As a result, many patients are seeing exponential increases in out-of-pocket expenses for medical procedures and services. In addition to more patients selecting high deductible plans, many patients cannot afford increased payments and are becoming uninsured or underinsured. As the number of patients who are uninsured, underinsured, or on high deductible plans grows, the need for a mechanism that allows patients to find discounted medical services increases and an efficient payment system.”

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, NewsRx editors also obtained the inventors’ summary information for this patent: “Herein presented is an apparatus and associated methods for presenting users a selection of at least one bundled set of healthcare services provided discretely and/or individually by a plurality of respective providers, determining a bundle price for the bundled set of healthcare services, receiving payment for the user selected bundled set, generating a purchase data record hereafter interchangeably referred to as a “voucher” or “voucher data record” selectively redeemable by the user to receive each of the bundled healthcare services in the bundled set, transmitting a unique confirmation number generated for the purchase data record to track the redemption status of the purchase data record, disbursing payment allocated from the received payment to the plurality of respective providers and updating the redemption status of the purchase data record as each of the plurality of services of the bundled set are redeemed. The bundle price may be based on the user’s health insurance deductible as well as the location and/or time at which the bundled set of services will be provided. The purchase data record may comprise an electronic health record.

“The above-described and other features and advantages realized through the techniques of the present disclosure will be better appreciated and understood with reference to the following detailed description, drawings, and appended claims. Additional features and advantages are realized through the techniques of the present invention. Other embodiments and aspects of the invention are described in detail herein and are considered a part of the claimed invention.

“The detailed description explains exemplary embodiments of the present invention, together with advantages and features, by way of example with reference to the drawings, in which similar numbers refer to similar parts throughout the drawings. The flow diagrams depicted herein are just examples. There may be many variations to these diagrams, or the steps (or operations) described therein without departing from the spirit of the invention. For instance, the steps may be performed in a differing order, or steps may be added, deleted, or modified. All these variations are considered to be within the scope of the claimed invention.

“Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.”

The claims supplied by the inventors are:

“1. An apparatus comprising: a processor; a user interface, operably coupled with the processor; and a memory operably coupled to the processor, wherein the memory encodes processor executable program instructions and data to program and configure the processor to cause the apparatus to perform operations comprising: receive an electronic message comprising a user payment for a bundled set of a plurality of selectively redeemable healthcare services comprising at least one dental service to be provided by a plurality of respective providers, wherein the received payment is pre-paid in an amount of a bundle price based on a location at which at least one selectively redeemable healthcare service of the bundled set of healthcare services will be provided; and in response to receiving the electronic message comprising the user payment, generate an electronic health record comprising a purchase data record identified by and with a unique confirmation number; preset an initial individual redemption status in the purchase data record for each selectively redeemable healthcare service of the bundled set of healthcare services as purchased and unredeemed, and provide user access to the purchase data record to receive each selectively redeemable healthcare service of the plurality of healthcare services.

“2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the operations performed by the apparatus further comprise in response to receiving the electronic message comprising the user payment, store the electronic health record in the memory; and send the electronic health record to at least one provider of the plurality of respective providers.

“3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the operations performed by the apparatus further comprise sending the unique confirmation number to the user.

“4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the received payment comprises real currency.

“5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the received payment comprises virtual funds.

“6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the received virtual funds payment further comprises promotional credit.

“7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the operations performed by the apparatus further comprise creating a virtual funds account for the user.

“8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the received payment is received from the virtual funds account created for the user.

“9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the operations performed by the apparatus further comprise disbursing payment to at least one of the plurality of respective providers.

“10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the at least one of the plurality of respective providers to which payment is disbursed further comprises at least one of a physician, a dentist, an orthodontist, a periodontist, an oral surgeon, a radiologist, an anesthesiologist, a dental hygienist, a practice group, a hospital, a facility or an insurer.

“11. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the disbursed payment comprises a plurality of payments allocated from the received payment, wherein the plurality of payments is disbursed to each of the plurality of respective providers.

“12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the user has a health insurance policy having a health insurance deductible and wherein the operations performed by the processor further comprise applying an amount of the received payment to the health insurance deductible.

“13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the amount of the received payment applied to the health insurance deductible is determined by the processor as a function of the health insurance policy.

“14. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the operations performed by the apparatus further comprise setting the bundle price based on the health insurance deductible.

“15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the purchase data record persists in a data store operably coupled with the processor and wherein the purchase data record is redeemable until each of the plurality of healthcare services in the bundled set is redeemed.

“16. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the operations performed by the apparatus further comprise: presenting to the user a plurality of healthcare services comprising at least one bundled set of the plurality of healthcare services to be performed separately by the plurality of respective providers; and receiving an indication of at least one bundled set of healthcare services selected by the user, wherein the bundle price is further determined by the processor based on a time at which at least one of the plurality of services will be provided.

“17. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one bundled set further comprises a drug.

“18. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one bundled set of healthcare services further comprises a primary service and a secondary service associated with the primary service, and wherein the received payment further comprises payment for the secondary service.

“19. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the purchase data record is the electronic health record.

“20. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the purchase data record is selectively redeemable for each healthcare service individually.

“21. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one dental service further comprises cleaning.

“22. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one dental service further comprises examination.

“23. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one dental service further comprises extraction.

“24. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one dental service further comprises restoration.

“25. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one dental service further comprises a service related to surgery.

“26. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one dental service further comprises a service related to braces.

“27. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one dental service further comprises orthodontal services.

“28. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one dental service further comprises periodontal services.

“29. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one dental service further comprises imaging.

“30. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the bundled set of the plurality of healthcare services further comprises at least one dental service determined by the processor in response to a patient lifecycle event detected as a function of updated dental data received in an Electronic Health Record (EHR).”

For more information, see this patent: Ketchel, III, Paul J. Prepaid bundled health, dental, and veterinary services with virtual payment distribution. U.S. Patent Number 11475498, filed December 6, 2021, and published online on October 18, 2022. Patent URL:

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