Health Insurance Sales Hit the Mall

A story in USA Today examines how the Affordable Care Act has prompted to open stores in malls as a way for the newly consumer-focused insurers to draw the uninsured to the plans they are offering in state exchanges starting Oct. 1.

Meanwhile, consumer advocates worry that the new stores will attract uninsured people who should be shopping on their state’s health exchange where they can compare all the plans offered for sale.

What do you think of this retailization of health insurance?

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Cigna and Socialwellth to Unveil Marketplace for Health Apps

Global health service company Cigna  and digital health social engagement company SocialWellth™ are co-creating a selective and curated Go You Cigna Marketplace™ that cuts through the clutter of mobile health apps.   Cigna customers looking to improve their health and well-being will have easy access to balanced living apps that are certified as being effective and most engaging.

Go You Cigna Marketplace health apps are certified to help ensure consumers find effective, high quality apps with the appropriate clinical content.  SocialWellth’s certification process leverages behavioral psychologists, information architects and other internal and external subject matter experts. Using quick-polls, the marketplace initiates a digital dialog with consumers to gain insights that will ultimately drive a hyper-personalized experience.

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UMB Releases Industry’s Most Advanced HSA Reporting Tool

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sep 19, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — UMB Healthcare Services, a division of UMB Financial Corporation, introduces HSAWorks(TM), the industry’s most-advanced reporting and first-ever analytics tool that allows brokers, third party administrators, health plans and employers to analyze health savings account (HSA) data to achieve desired plan results.

In addition to HSAWorks(TM), UMB provides its clients a Benefits Communication Toolkit that, paired with the reporting tools, gives employers specific guidance and materials to help in driving their HSA communication strategy and influencing employee health.

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Announces the SmartSelect Online Health Care Shopping Tool

EAGAN, Minn., Sept. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) announced that SmartSelect™, the first in a family of online health care shopping tools, is now available as part of its standard benefits package for all members. This tool helps address rising health care costs by encouraging members to become more informed health care consumers.

BlueCross is partnering with Change Healthcare, a market leader in consumer engagement and cost transparency tools the SmartSelect tools.

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FAQ: How Is Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Changing?

Employers are raising deductibles, giving workers health savings accounts that look like 401(k) plans, mimicking the health law’s online insurance marketplaces and nudging patients to compare prices and shop around for treatments.

Together the moves could eventually affect far more consumers than the law’s Medicaid expansion or health exchanges aimed at the uninsured and scheduled to open Oct. 1. Here’s a rundown.

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App Helps Consumers Navigate New Healthcare Landscape

CareOptions is a completely app-based, cloud-accessed Family Healthcare Advisory Program that vendors provide as a benefit to their employer groups, customers and prospects.

CareOptions memberships,… are essentially…  special access to exclusive care planning tools, cost-of-care evaluators, healthcare answers and document sets that can save them [consumers] significant time, money and stress when facing health, wellness or caregiving issues.

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The Coming Revolution in Consumer-Driven Care

There is a new industry of “CDHC account administration firms” to manage these accounts and provide support services. [CDHC=Consumer Driven Health Care.]

These firms offer integrated platforms for the three accounts and support consumers with website management, debit and credit cards, and increasing cost and quality information. …these CDHC firms are taking over private insurance.

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Seven Reasons HSAs are Taking Off

There’s no question that HSAs are growing — but why? Experts point to a number of possible explanations.

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Feds Protect HSA Plans Against PPACA Fears

The Internal Revenue Service is trying to keep worries about preventive services benefits rules under PPACA from rattling the health savings account program.

The IRS protected HSA-compatible plans with a notice, IRS Notice 2013-57, that irons out conflicts between the HSA program preventive services rules and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act preventive services package rules.

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Teladoc Acquires Consult A Doctor, Expands Service Offerings and Member Base

DALLAS, Texas) Sept. 4, 2013 – Teladoc, the nation’s first and largest telehealth provider with more than 6 million members, announced today the acquisition of Consult A Doctor, a telehealth company founded in 2007. With this acquisition, individuals and employees of small- to medium-size businesses will now have access to Teladoc’s national network of U.S. board-certified, state-licensed physicians for consults.

Teladoc’s acquisition of Consult A Doctor allows the company to expand its unique service offerings and continue to grow and bring innovative solutions to the marketplace.

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