Consumer frustrations with the new online marketplaces reinforce the need for health insurers to make the shift to digital and have well-defined strategies around marketing, sales and service, according to Harvard Business Review.
A thorough digital strategy not only delivers on consumers' expectations for an easy online shopping experience but also improves insurers' bottom lines--it can cut costs by up to 65 percent and reduce turnaround time for key insurance processes by 90 percent, according to the article.
A recent white paper from Frost & Sullivan pointed to using social media platforms to interact with Gen X and millenials and produce a "treasure trove" of relevant consumer information.
For digital excellence in insurance, payers must invest in future digital capabilities, like mHealth. Big-name insurers like Philadelphia-based Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser use mobile tools to engage members and lower costs.
IBC recognized the importance of investing in its app's functionality across platforms--it's available for Android, iOS and for Windows 8 tablets. "The app is part of how we get business. [It helps us] look out for our members, which in turn reduces our costs," Kenneth Russo, director of IBC's consumer digital engagement team, told FierceHealthIT in an interview.
Meanwhile, Maryland-based CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield is directing its digital investments toward telemedicine initiatives, AIS's Health Business Daily reported. The insurer aims to expand behavioral healthcare access for underserved populations Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Digital excellence also requires a workforce that has digital experience and training, HBR noted, as well as an organizational commitment to testing and analytics to ensure a measurable return on digital investments.