Insurers increase their Twitter presence to manage image

As consumers take more frequently to social media, particularly Twitter, insurers are adjusting their customer service approach to include a greater social media presence, hoping to market products and communicate with consumers, reported Kaiser Health News.

Maintaining a strong social media presence also lets insurers proactively manage their brand and image while taking quick action to remedy any complaints aired publicly. Aetna's own CEO, Mark Bertolini, responded directly to one member's public complaints that the insurer wouldn't fully cover his cancer treatments. Just one day after Arijit Guha posted on Twitter, Bertolini used his personal Twitter account to ensure him that Aetna would pay the cancer bills, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Insurers like Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna have designated Twitter feeds, @aetnahelp,@askanthem and @cignaquestions, respectively, that focus solely on marketing and sharing health-related news.

"Social media gives us a tremendous opportunity to learn what the community needs," Carissa O'Brien, Aetna's social media director, told KHN. And by using Twitter, Aetna can educate and inform their followers about health and wellness.

She and her team of six employees aim to respond within an hour of the roughly 250 Tweets each month dealing with claims and other services. But O'Brien recognizes that it's just the beginning. "If we're looking to focus a 100-plus-year-old company on social media, that's massive cultural change," she said.

Using Twitter also keeps the insurers accountable. "Social media acts as a public documentation of how you resolve the situation," Ini Augustine, a social media strategist and head of SocialWise Media Group, told KHN. "It's more than a marketing tool."

To learn more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article

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