How UnitedHealthcare Is Going Digital in 2018

Jack Murtha
JANUARY 12, 2018
unitedhealthcare,choose health insurance,ces 2018,hca news

UnitedHealthcare came to the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with some news to break. The health insurance behemoth announced today the rollout of 3 digital health initiatives in 2018, betting on technology’s power to enhance the customer experience.

“Consumers are asking for and expecting customized, connected digital health resources that help make access to care easier and more convenient,” Rich Migliori, MD, chief medical officer of UnitedHealth Group, the insurer’s parent company, said in a statement. “UnitedHealthcare invests more than $3 billion annually in data, technology, and innovation to help design a health system that is more personalized, intuitive, and efficient.”

So, where is that money going this year? The short answer: digital onboarding, Apple Pay technology, and educational videos.

For companies with more than 100 but no more than 3000 employees, this year will see the start of digital onboarding through UnitedHealthcare, the company said. Enrollees may take a digital survey designed to prod them toward pertinent options to meet their clinical, wellness, and financial goals. That could include spending accounts, mental health options, pregnancy support programs, and more, according to the organization.

Certain UnitedHealthcare beneficiaries can now pony up money owed to providers and pharmacies through Apple Pay, a move that the insurer said “can help save people time and facilitate payments to care providers.” But this feature is available only to people in individual and employer plans with an Optum Bank health savings account, the company noted.

Finally, enrollees may check out “personalized claims videos that help people better understand their benefits and what they owe following a covered medical service.” The clips will go live early this year, according to the insurer. This effort is in line with third-party efforts to use things like video and video games to increase knowledge of the health insurance market.

Highlighting the moves at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada, UnitedHealthcare also showed how it is trying to help consumers access their health and insurance plan data through wearable technologies, smartphones, and computers. What’s more, the company showcased some of its apps and unveiled a new partnership with the glucose monitoring system manufacturer Dexcom, a marriage that aims to help people with type 2 diabetes stay on top of the condition at all times, according to UnitedHealthcare.

The company is far from the only health insurance player to take digital consumer-facing technologies seriously.

Oscar, for instance, has built its brand around convenience factor wrought by digital and mobile, though the organization has faced challenges. Late last year, Cigna bought a company whose digital health platform was poised to help the insurer better engage consumers and providers. Time and again, experts have called for such advances—and they expect them to keep coming.

Images courtesy of UnitedHealthcare.
 

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