Benefitfocus app helps insurers track members' habits

Benefits management behemoth Benefitfocus continues lumbering into the mHealth market from the payer side. It recently partnered with app developer, SCIOInspire, and just this week launched the JustInTime Wellness App for its health plan customers.

The idea: Health plan beneficiaries use the app for wellness reminders, and insurers can use it to obtain data on members' habits, identify potentially negative trends and find ways to cut costs, company officials say.

Last year the company set itself up for just this kind of development when it bought Benefit Informatics. The analytics company delivered the algorithms and data health plans needed to mine historical patient data and trend out "what if" scenarios, Benefitfocus' CEO Shawn Jenkins told Healthcare Finance News.

We're betting the new app is on the leading edge of a coming development wave, as insurance companies look for apps to better manage beneficiaries' services and costs. Last fall, BCBS of North Carolina launched a similar health management app, HealthNAV, for just this reason.

It will be interesting, however, to see how beneficiaries react to the app's "gap-in-care" function, an algorithm that allows health insurers to identify when members aren't following their wellness recommendations. A bit Big-Brother-ish, the idea of having their healthcare compliance watched may cool member's desire to try out the new app.

For more info:
- read the announcement
- here's a related Healthcare Finance News piece