NEW YORK, Sept. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The health insurance industry is struggling to serve members through the increasingly important digital channel, according to a new report from Corporate Insight's Healthcare Division, Insurers Get a Digital Health Check: Understanding the Key Opportunities to Improve Health Insurers' Digital Resources. This is the first in a series of Digital Health Experience reports that the firm will publish over the next 12 months. The report finds that established insurance firms must do more to enhance members' understanding of their plans, provide greater self-servicing capabilities, and strengthen their preventive and on-demand healthcare functionality.
- The member site is a critical touchpoint, yet few insurers leverage this digital channel effectively – Most insurers do not provide modern, robust websites that fully engage members, despite the value that plan participants place on member sites. According to Corporate Insight's May 2016 Digital Healthcare Survey, most respondents (68%) said the member site was "very important" or "extremely important" to them. This number goes up when looking at younger generations – Gen Y (73%) and Gen X (72%) – who tend to have higher digital expectations than their elders. Only 64% of respondents were "very satisfied" or "extremely satisfied" with the member site, a lower satisfaction rating than Corporate Insight has observed when surveying financial services website users. In addition, Corporate Insight's Digital Healthcare Audit found a serious digital deficit among insurer member sites when compared to retail brokerage sites; no insurer's site received a "Good" rating, while five out of 17 brokerages did.
- Most insurers' digital offerings fail to educate members about their plans and lack valuable self-service functionality – Corporate Insight's May 2016 Digital Healthcare Survey found that coverage information is the most important aspect of insurers' member sites and mobile apps. This is understandable in light of the fact that many Americans lack a basic understanding of their health insurance plans. For example, more than half (51%) of survey respondents could not define the term "deductible." Corporate Insight's Digital Healthcare Audit identified weaknesses in the findability, depth of content and comprehensibility of insurers' coverage information, limiting its effectiveness. Plan servicing functionality – the second most important element of insurers' digital platforms – is by far the weakest aspect of these websites and mobile apps, driven by the limited functionality and poor usability of claim centers, online pharmacies and alerts.
- Members seek value-added health content and tools, just not on their insurers' websites –Many insurers offer such resources as online health and wellness centers, cost estimators, and doctor and service locators on their member sites to help consumers better manage their health and health-related spending. Corporate Insight's May 2016 Digital Healthcare Survey found that these insurer-provided resources are under-used. Thirty-three percent more members accessed this kind of content from a third-party platform like WebMD, Mayo Clinic and Iodine than they did from their insurer's website. Corporate Insight's Digital Healthcare Audit points to weaknesses in navigation, integration and follow-up actions that likely discourage members from fully utilizing these resources.
"Even the nation's leading health insurers must improve their digital platforms if they intend to create a positive member experience in an increasingly competitive marketplace," said Johanna Hife, senior analyst at Corporate Insight and lead author of the study. "Modern, user-friendly and highly functional digital platforms can help increase member engagement and lower costs in the long run for consumers and insurers alike."
About Corporate Insight
Corporate Insight provides competitive intelligence, consulting and user experience (UX) research to the nation's leading insurers, financial services firms and educational institutions. For more than two decades, the firm has published customer experience-focused research and has advised clients on key competitive issues with a focus on helping them improve their digital capabilities. The firm offers subscription-based Monitor Services in 14 verticals, including healthcare, alumni relations and brokerage, along with custom research and consulting services, digital capabilities audits, special studies and UX research.
Corporate Insight's Healthcare Division offers competitive intelligence and UX research to help health insurance companies leverage their digital capabilities to improve member satisfaction.
- The Healthcare Monitor subscription service helps health insurers stay attuned to the pulse of the industry through ongoing and detailed analysis of the behind-login member experience at competitor insurance firms. Deliverables include in-depth reports on key aspects of the digital member experience, monthly updates on tactical changes to member sites and mobile apps, collateral materials and communications, and a comprehensive inventory of digital capabilities and resources.
- The Digital Healthcare Audit benchmarks a health insurer's member-facing digital experience against its key competitors' and identifies the changes that would lead to a best-in-class experience. Using proprietary Audit grading framework, Corporate Insight rates the member sites and apps offered by the client and its key competitors across more than 200 individual attributes covering plan information, self-service features, health and wellness education centers, cost estimators and locators, and platform design and usability. The resulting analysis presents a clear picture of the client's key digital strengths, weaknesses and critical opportunities for improvement. Recommendations stem from the Audit's gap analysis, industry best practices and the preferences of member site and app users, collected through the May 2016 Digital Healthcare Survey.
- Corporate Insight's UX Research practice helps health insurers gain objective, actionable insights on their digital properties from the perspective of the end-user. Corporate Insight obtains unbiased user feedback on insurer sites and apps for members, healthcare providers, employers and brokers – segments with very different user needs. In addition to comparative assessments of health insurance firms, Corporate Insight's custom deliverables provide health insurers with meaningful results on truncated timelines.
SOURCE Corporate Insight