A great customer experience using digital health insurance technology

The changing health insurance industry

The health insurance business has a reputation for being risk-averse, process-driven and transaction-based, and health insurance providers for the 65+ market are no different. Since the focus has traditionally been on policy sales, a direct-to-customer experience (CX) has not always been the top priority. Nor did it need to be. Employees in the past were more apt to be locked into their workforce health insurance plans and their accompanying health insurance organization. Systems and processes may have been complex and tough to navigate, but people made do. By the time they interacted with whatever crude digital experience a provider presented to them, they were already customers.

Today, that’s all changing. The healthcare system is feeling the squeeze from the rising health care expenses of an aging population. Baby boomers are retiring from the workforce and transitioning from their employer-provided plans to Medicare provided by insurers. Blue Cross, for example, is available throughout North America. 

The 65+ demographic, in particular, has more choice in health insurance options than ever before. Brand loyalty is waning, as baby boomers feel empowered to research alternatives and choose products that best meets their unique needs. If you can deliver what older members expect, you could see rising retention numbers, and even succeed in getting seniors to switch to your brand.

Doctor shared health data with a patient for a better customer experience

Retaining your medicare senior base and attracting new members requires a new approach to experience design. User experience (UX) and design touches every aspect of your operations, from customer-facing interactions, to product and service development, to technology infrastructure, to data collection. A user-driven approach to technology can help you deliver the personalized digital solutions and authentic experiences your patients are looking for.

It’s no secret that digital strategy, technology integration and corporate agility are key to building growth, strengthening your competitive advantage and delivering engaging experiences for clients and prospects alike. But how, specifically, can you use UX and CX technologies to facilitate long-term relationships and grow recurring revenues? Here are three recommendations to help you get started.

Understand the customer journey

The right technology and data can help you understand how people are interacting with your brand at every stage of their relationship with you. The customer journey has many stages: 

  • awareness and introduction;
  • reviewing and researching products and suppliers;
  • signing-up with a chosen provider;
  • managing payments;
  • making a claim;
  • addressing problems or questions; 
  • renewing coverage; and,
  • finding a new provider. 

By using technology to gather data at each of these stages, you can better understand how people engage with your brand, where they experience pain points, and how to improve their experience. 

Sutter Health, for example, worked with Appnovation to deliver experience innovation using technology. Appnovation implemented a unique digital solution that: 

  1. streamlined information collection along the patient journey; 
  2. simplified complex features and functionalities; 
  3. enhanced user-friendly access to services; and, 
  4. delivered a multi-platform design experience. 

By understanding the customer journey, and adopting a member-centric mindset, your organization’s processes, systems and solutions can become more responsive, coordinated and effective. And this can go a long way to finding and keeping valuable members.

UX Design plays an integral part in developing new and retaining senior customers

Make the complex simple

Sutter Health also worked with Appnovation to simplify data collection, ensuring systems worked seamlessly and in unison. Many health insurers are taking steps to reduce inefficiencies and complexities within their technology ecosystems. They’re reaching out to digital consultants for their expertise to re-platform their content management systems (CMS) and supporting applications. Deploying a best-of-breed open technology platform can streamline workflows, increase flexibility and reduce risk. Most importantly, it can deliver even better solutions for your target audience.

Partner collaboration can play a big part in simplification. To deliver even more consistent and seamless patient experience, some experience design start-ups are even experimenting with enterprise management technology platforms that link consumers, insurers and healthcare providers. This area holds great promise.

In the simplest terms, when you strategically simplify UX across touchpoints, you make it easier for your community to engage and do business with you. You’re perceived to be more credible, responsive and capable. When this happens, engagement skyrockets, relationships get stronger, and you have more time (and money) to innovate and make your business even better.

Digitize wherever possible

Let’s face it. Doing business online can be faster and cheaper (customers who convert through a broker will cost insurers money). But even more important, a well-thought out digital transformation strategy can do wonders for brand loyalty and satisfaction. Keep in mind that new technologies are not only for the young. By mid-century, more than 25% of the world will be senior citizens. Seniors are more digital-savvy than ever before — the race is on to cater to this group.

The power of technology solutions for aging adults is driving insurers worldwide to deliver new products and services targeted to baby boomers. Yet voice activated devices and accessible websites are just the tip of the iceberg. The Internet of Things (IoT) is taking centre stage with the health insurance market as insurers realize that device data (obtained with member permission) can help create more relevant offerings, particularly around health insurance for elderly people.

Get inspired by how some of the most successful insurance and pharmaceutical brands have worked with Appnovation and leveraged technology to grow their business:

logos of Appnovation CX and UX clients MetLife Pfizer Prudential Australia and AXA

  • Prudential Asia developed an agile collaborative solution that drives faster digital transformation.
  • Pfizer is now transforming their digital brand to deliver consistency, quality and efficiency. 
  • MetLife is now using interactive tools to ensure their customer experience keeps pace with their customers’ needs. 
  • AXA has designed and implemented a new architecture to support and enhance the existing platform.

Digital is the future

We hope you’re inspired to take your digital strategy to the next level, particularly with the growing baby boomer cohort. User experience design and customer journey mapping are just two pieces of the digital transformation puzzle. Use technology with a customer-first mindset, and see the difference it can make to your business.


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Anton Morrison, Vice President UX Design at Appnovation

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