Tax preparation is a $140 billion industry, yet a surprising number of tax transactions still take place on dead tree. In a little more than a month most of us will be waiting by the mailbox for a bunch of paper W-2s and 1099s to come limping in. And the first day on a new job still involves most people arbitrarily guessing how many deductions to claim and then signing and submitting a piece of paper with that number written on it.
I pay my bills online, I buy groceries and Christmas presents online, I communicate online, I view pictures and video online. But along with taxes, there is another area of life that has remained surprisingly dead-tree bound, and it is—not coincidentally, I'm sure—also an areas where I find myself staring at forms that I have no idea how to deal with: Health insurance.
I'm sure I am paying more than I should on almost every medical transaction, simply because spending the time to exploit loopholes, fill out the proper forms, query totals and payment schedules doesn't seem worth it.
Today from Tyler Cowen, a link to a firm that I'm surprised isn't part of a larger, more widely used industry: Outsourcing health insurance paperwork. OffYourDesk.com promises to "handle every aspect of your health insurance claims, so you get the maximum reimbursement you deserve quickly, easily and pain-free." Neat.
Watch for this industry to go though the traditional lifecycle of firms that are bound up in processing government-relevant paperwork: Profusion, scandal, regulation and licensing, cost increases, permanence.