Insurance policy

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2005-10-03 Print this article Print

Francine, I would imagine that Aetna has been a little busy lately.

Siconolfi: I think Aetnas been through it enough times—there are a lot of dynamic triggers in the tables that drive the software systems. Some of the things they were doing in our business applications—allowing people to go outside the network for their physician and their medical care, not needing their referrals, things like letting the system refill prescriptions even if theyre not due to be refilled for another 30 days, getting treatment without precertifications and that sort of thing. We removed whatever barriers we could to give people access to the health care they needed.

The systems are capable of turning certain things on and off dynamically. Its taken many years to get it to that point—after, unfortunately, other natural disasters and things in the past—but the folks who maintain all those tables in the systems did what they had to do to allow things to flow through.

Its interesting to hear you go through the number of points at which youd have to have that kind of dynamic capability. Its making me realize how much Ive been taking it for granted that various service providers have demonstrated that kind of flexibility. Trying to do that kind of thing could have put you back in the paper age pretty quickly if you hadnt anticipated it and incorporated it into the architecture.

Siconolfi: There were certainly glitches along the way—especially when it came to delivering things on paper, things by mail, that kind of stuff—but we got through it, and it will continue to be an issue for many months.

Has there been any discussion in your halls about how long you expect to be dealing with people who arent at their regular address, people who have no fixed address and various other speed bumps?

Siconolfi: I started at Aetna just in time to see how the company reacted to 9/11, and Ive never seen any time constraints put on something of this magnitude.

Next Page: Dispersing digital records.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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