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Best Innovative Design

FirstAccess and Competitive Health Recognized for “Best Innovative Design” — Consumer Health World

Mission Viejo, CA — First Access, owner of US Patent 7, 346,522 and Competitive Health, a California-based marketing company received “Best Innovative Design” by Consumer Health World. The Consumer Health World Awards recognize excellence and advancement in the health and wellness industries. Competitive Health offers the first proven automated point of service system that provides real-time payment , on-demand PPO and plan information.

With the advent of high-deductible, limited benefit programs, consumer directed plans and health savings accounts, the collection risk for physicians has risen considerably. At the same time, patients with deductibles can be miss-billed as physicians seek to collect at point of service without knowing the appropriate health plan discounts.

“In a nutshell, our re-pricing system takes the mystery out of determining how much the patient owes for their visit at the point of service,” said Kim Darling, founder and president of Competitive Health, Inc. Darling initially invented the re-pricing system in 1996 for the uninsured network discount card business, but later extended its application to health insurance plans.

The Company’s simple approach uses the telephone and internet to allow providers to immediately determine a patient’s eligibility, identify the PPO network, calculate network discounts and electronically send to a prepaid or debit card platform. “This means that in the world of consumer-directed health plans, patients are assured of getting their network discounts and providers can properly charge patients,” Darling explained, “The patient’s financial obligation to the provider can then be automatically debited from their health savings, health reimbursement or flexible spending accounts using a benefit payment system debit card.”

Competitive Health is currently performing the re-pricing function in more than 450,000 physician locations nationwide.

“Solving the receivable problem for providers is going to be critical to the long term adoption of HSAs”, said Kimberly Darling. “High deductible plans risk creating substantial physician and patient dissatisfaction unless appropriate amounts can be charged at the point of service without having to wait weeks or months for full claims adjudication. Competitive Health’s system will be an important component for broader payment offerings for consumer-directed programs.”


Competitive Health, Inc., based in Mission Viejo, California, was founded in 1996 and is the first and only company to provide a proven automated patient payment responsibility and network information real-time solution to the healthcare marketplace. Utilizing multi-media, this solution includes facsimile, IVR, VRU, Internet and XML technology. Competitive Health has over 450,000 providers in the system today across 35 networks.

First Access, Inc. was founded in 2000 with a commitment to supporting the movement toward greater consumer choice in and responsibility for employee benefits. Its primary asset US Patent 7,346,522 can be licensed to payment technology companies and healthcare organizations that desire to use a real-time information highway system that communicates with all healthcare providers. No special hardware, software or training is necessary. First Access’s technology creates a bridge between traditional benefit structures and the evolving consumer-directed benefits movement.