UPMC Health Plan members can now ask Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices for answers about insurance coverage or to order a new ID card.
The insurer, headquartered in Pittsburgh, launched a new virtual concierge feature that will assist commercial plan members with some of their most frequently asked questions related to their benefits and coverage and how to access care and services. Members can also use the service to find out more about health insurance basics and how to access services like telehealth.
UPMC Health Plan is owned by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
"The Virtual Concierge is another way UPMC Health Plan is making health care more accessible for our members,” said Chris Daley, director of digital technology services for the UPMC Health Plan, in a statement. “This useful, easy-to-use, and fun resource reflects our commitment to both exceptional service and innovation.”
The virtual concierge leads voice assistant users through a verbal chatbot-style experience to receive quick and useful information. Members can prompt Alexa or Google Assistant to look up member benefits and coverage, including ID card help, to provide clear explanations of insurance terminology, COVID-19 vaccine information and how to access services including UPMC’s AnywhereCare telehealth mobile application.
The new tool directly reflects input from UPMC Health Plan members, the organization said. In a Health Plan-conducted study, 40% of insured Pennsylvanians surveyed reported that a “smart speaker” voice assistant resource would help them and make benefits easier to understand.
The UPMC Health Plan virtual concierge debuted in February 2020 and is now available on both Amazon Alexa- and Google Assistant-enabled devices.
Health plans and healthcare organizations are expanding their use of voice assistant "skills" on devices to enable consumers to more easily access their health information.
Last year, Anthem launched an enhanced version of its Amazon Alexa voice assistant skill across 13 of its commercial insurance markets. The Anthem Skill allows members to ask Alexa for assistance with several common requests, such as scheduling a call with an Anthem customer service agent or ordering prescription refills.
Amazon also rolled out detailed medication information that enables consumers to ask Amazon Alexa about the side effects of certain drugs. The initiative signals the tech giant's broader effort to use the voice assistant to help consumers manage their medications.