Is Intuit on its way to becoming a major player in health care? Actually, one person not asking that question is the company’s CEO Steve Bennett who predicts that in five to 10 years Intuit’s healthcare software products will be bigger than the rest of the company. Bennett made that prediction in early March at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference. Bennett told attendees that he and company founder Scott Cook now spend 10 percent of their time on health care Currently, Intuit’s entry in this market is the Quicken Medical Expense Manager, which is designed to let consumers track communications with insurance plans so that they know what they have paid and what they haven’t. As Bennett says, this isn’t something that is going to happen in the next two years. What Intuit is doing, however, is important in showing how the companies in the financial space are quickly evolving. Sage Software plunged into the medical market last year with the purchase of the Emdeon practice management business. While Intuit and Sage are taking different courses—Intuit is going after the consumers, Sage after professional practices—it underscores the potential they see in a business in which many operations aren’t fully automated, if at all. And of course it’s natural to link these to the banking and payment businesses that each company has entered. Intuit has its QuickBooks Merchants Services and Sage acquired Verus Financial Services at a premium price. The medical business is also behind much of the market in accepting credit cards, but is expected to catch up rapidly. Bennett’s message to the people at the Morgan Stanley conference was it’s quite a bit early to purchase his company’s stock based on its activities in health care. But keep your eyes open.
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