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How health plans can use technology to improve consumer engagement

Streamline business processes and help customers make decisions, Healthcare Trends Institute says

As the health insurance market continues its shift to consumer-driven health plans, payers gain an edge by implementing technology that improves consumer engagement as well as the management and delivery of benefits, according to a Healthcare Trends Institute report.

For good or ill, the Affordable Care Act has placed the onus on consumers to learn more about their health insurance, the report stated. As a result, consumer-driven health plans need educational tools that help people find the plans that work for their healthcare and financial needs.

In addition, the report said, payers should use analytics to deliver a more customized customer experience and implement systems that streamline administrative and payment processes.  

Mobile health in particular represents an opportunity to improve engagement, the report said. Here, plans can connect with members by offering care management, decision support and various member services. Coverage of emerging telehealth services will help health plans distinguish themselves as well.

Insurers must be careful, though. Most payers fail to develop effective mobile apps, in large part because they don't meet compliance requirements or promote the apps effectively, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported.

Plans should also pay particular attentions to the needs of millennials, who understand technology but not necessarily health insurance and who also tend to experience a series of life events (changing jobs, getting married, buying a home) in a short period of time. For these members, transparency and clear, targeted communication will go a long way, according to the report.

For more:
read the report (.pdf)

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3 reasons payers fail to develop effective apps
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Consumer-driven plans need more educational tools