Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Recognized for Customer Experience Improvement

DETROIT— Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan was recognized this week by Forrester Research’s January 2014 report, “The Customer Experience Index, 2014,” as earning the biggest improvement across multiple industries in overall “customer experience.” This ranking advances the company to a second place ranking overall among the health insurance providers evaluated. The Forrester report surveys consumers about their “customer experience” at 175 large U.S. brands across 14 industries, including insurance firms.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan scored a 75, following what Forrester refers to as a “jaw-dropping increase” of 22 points.  BCBSM now ranks second place among surveyed health insurance providers nationally. Continue reading

Kaiser Permanente Lauded for Its Innovative Exercise as a Vital Sign Program

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Kaiser Permanente health plans in California were honored recently with a 2013 eValue8 Innovations Award for their groundbreaking Exercise as a Vital Sign program.

The National Business Coalition on Health , a non-profit organization of purchaser-led business and health coalitions, sponsored the award, which recognizes the innovative work of health plans to develop programs that address critical health care issues.

Developed by Kaiser Permanente to consistently capture information on a member’s exercise habits, Exercise as a Vital Sign raises the value of exercise so that it’s equal to other vital signs, such as blood pressure and heart rate. The program is intended to prompt important conversations between individuals and their providers. Continue reading

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to Provide Low-Cost Individual Health Plans

DETROIT – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, four southeast Michigan hospital systems, four independent community hospitals and more than 4,700 doctors will partner in 2015 to provide low-cost insurance coverage and health care services to local residents.

The localized network – called an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) – is coming together following responses to a comprehensive RFP issued by Blue Cross last year to hospitals asking for participation. Physicians – totaling 4,789 on Jan. 13 – are still coming aboard.

“In a region where hundreds of thousands of people are without health insurance coverage, the Affordable Care Act gives insurers and providers new opportunities to work together to provide people with affordable access to coverage and care,” said Susan Barkell, BCBSM senior vice president for Health Care Value. “Local hospitals and doctors are committed to providing quality care and keeping it affordable. Blue Cross is very pleased to join with local healthcare leaders to offer a quality, localized and low-cost insurance product to meet the needs of people not covered at work.”

For more news and information go to bcbsm.com/news and mibluesperspectives.com.

Capital BlueCross, PinnacleHealth System Team Up to Bring Employers a New Health Insurance Option

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Capital BlueCross and PinnacleHealth System are teaming up to offer businesses a unique new health insurance plan for their employees. Marketed as CareConnect Point of Service (CareConnect), this plan connects the benefits and services of Capital BlueCross with the physicians and facilities of PinnacleHealth. It is powered by the two-year-old accountable care arrangement between the two companies.

“It is incumbent upon insurers and health care providers to find innovative ways to help employers achieve workforce health goals and lower costs,” said Gary D. St. Hilaire, Capital BlueCross president & CEO. “CareConnect offers this service and PinnacleHealth’s reputation as a trusted provider makes this plan really attractive to businesses seeking the best possible care for their employees.”  Continue reading

HealthSparq Acquires ClarusHealth to Become a Market Leader In Quickly Growing Healthcare Transparency Industry

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – HealthSparq, a leading healthcare transparency solutions provider, announced today that it has acquired ClarusHealth Solutions, a leading healthcare provider search vendor. The companies will combine and extend their current transparency and healthcare shopping solution offerings. Together, HealthSparq and ClarusHealth will provide health plans and employers with a robust and integrated healthcare shopping platform, allowing their members and employees to make informed healthcare decisions, ultimately incurring lower costs.

The combined organization will be a market leader in the integrated transparency and healthcare shopping space, providing solutions and tools to 60 different health insurance plans that together provide coverage for more than 60 million individuals. Continue reading

Aetna Better Health of Illinois and Addus Home Care Launch Personal Care Pilot

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aetna Better Health of Illinois, an Aetna Medicaid plan, and Addus Home Care, a national provider of home and community-based services (HCBS), will conduct a pilot study on the impact of providing smart phones to home care aides who assist Illinois residents served under the state’s Integrated Care Program (ICP).

ICP provides assistance such as meal preparation, bathing, housekeeping and transportation to seniors and adults with disabilities who qualify for Medicaid. The pilot study seeks to demonstrate the benefits of smart phones to help home care aides report changing health conditions of members in real time to supervisors and to the members’ primary care physicians. Addus Home Care aides are in consumers’ homes on a frequent basis, observing changes in the physical, mental and environmental conditions of their clients.

In the ICP pilot, Aetna Better Health and Addus expect to leverage home and community-based services to provide similar results with emergency and acute care services. Aetna and Addus plan to conduct an outcome study on the program in 2014.

For more information, see www.aetna.co

 

Majority of Consumers Want Wearable Fitness Technologies: Accenture Survey

NEW YORK; Jan. 6, 2014 – In a consumer electronics world dominated by smart-phones, HDTVs, laptop computers and tablet PCs, a new market category is generating significant consumer buying interest: wearable technologies. A new Accenture (NYSE: ACN) survey (Accenture Digital Consumer Tech Survey 2014) found that more than half of consumers (52 percent) are interested in buying wearable technologies such as fitness monitors for tracking physical activity and managing their personal health. The survey of more than 6,000 people in six countries – Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States – showed that many are also interested in buying smart watches (46 percent) and Internet-connected eyeglasses (42 percent).

Wearable technologies deliver a wide range of capabilities: fitness monitors track a person’s heart rate and calories burned, while Internet-connected eyeglass displays enable consumers to browse the Internet, take digital photos and receive hands-free notifications. Among the six countries, consumers in India were most interested in buying fitness monitors (80 percent), smart watches (76 percent) and Internet-enabled eyeglasses (74 percent).

In addition, the survey found significant consumer interest in purchasing phablets, an emerging category of mobile devices that combine smartphone and tablet PC functions while featuring a screen size of five-to-seven inches – in between a traditional smartphone and a tablet PC. The survey also unveiled strong purchase plans over the next year for traditional smartphones, HDTVs, laptops and tablet PCs. – See more at  www.accenture.com.