CES 2018: UnitedHealthcare unveils new tech tools like Apple Pay, digital onboarding

UnitedHealthcare members with Optum Bank health savings accounts can now use Apple Pay to pay for qualified medical services. (Pixabay)

Though the Consumer Electronics Show may be better known for electric cars and shiny new laptops, a major health insurer was also in Las Vegas to share its latest tech tools.

UnitedHealthcare debuted new digital health resources for members of its employer-sponsored plans, which aim to make it easier for people to use their benefits and navigate the healthcare system.

“Consumers are asking for and expecting customized, connected digital health resources that help make access to care easier and more convenient,” Richard Migliori, M.D., chief medical officer of UnitedHealth Group, said in an announcement

To that end, the insurer announced that members with Optum Bank health savings accounts can now use Apple Pay to pay for qualified medical services. Having that option offers consumers more convenience and saves them time at doctors offices and pharmacies, according to UnitedHealthcare.

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The insurer will also offer personalized videos that provide members a step-by-step breakdown of each claim they file is processed and how much they still owe. The service—accessible on desktop computers or mobile devices—will be available early this year for individual and employer-sponsored plan members.

And for large employers, the insurer rolled out a digital onboarding service that aims to help employees select a plan. It also features an online health survey that enables people to identify and select relevant programs—such as behavioral health services, weight loss, pregnancy support or spending accounts.

Earlier in the week at CES, UnitedHealthcare unveiled a new initiative that will use wearable technology and personalized support to help Medicare Advantage members manage Type 2 diabetes. That initiative is part of a broader effort called Navigate4Me, in which health navigators help MA members manage chronic diseases by leveraging various data sources. 

UnitedHealthcare, OhioHealth announce value-based partnership

In other news, OhioHealth Group, a Columbus-based nonprofit health system, has teamed up with UnitedHealthcare to create a value-based care model “focused on keeping people healthy.”

As part of the new partnership, the insurer will share data with OhioHealth to give doctors a clearer picture of patients’ underlying medical conditions, past treatments, gaps in care, medications prescribed and future care needs, according to an announcement (PDF).

The two organizations also aim to better identify high-risk patients and help them reduce unnecessary emergency department visits, avoid hospital readmissions and improve their medication adherence.