Michigan Blues on board with mobile

September 5, 2013 in Medical Technology

A recent survey by the health rewards marketing company EveryMove indicates health insurers aren’t fully embracing mobile technology – a critical strategy as the nation moves toward mandatory health information exchanges. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is making a move to stay ahead of the curve.

The insurer has announced a partnership with Larky, whereby the Ann Arbor-based company will present BCBSM’s Healthy Blue Xtras savings program on a web site and corresponding mobile app. The idea is to give BCBSM members quick and easy access to all of their health plan discounts – whether they know about them or not.

“Seventy-two percent of consumers we surveyed said that they ‘knew they deserved some member discounts but didn’t know what they were or how to get them,’” said Andrew Bank, Larky’s co-founder, in a September 4 press release announcing the partnership. “Our passion is to ensure that consumers aren’t leaving money on the table, and we’re thrilled to work with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to ensure their members get all the discounts they deserve.”

[See also: Mobile health app market in growth mode.]

According to Larky co-founder Gregg Hammerman, the company, which launched this past April, is taking BCBSM’s successful discount program and creating a dashboard on which members can see all of the discounts that are available to them – including those from other memberships, such as AAA, AARP and Costco. In addition, using GPS technology and customizable alerts, the Larky mobile app enables members to learn about discounts on their smartphone when they’re capable of using them – as they’re passing the health club, dining out or shopping.

“When the Blues launched the Healthy Blue Xtras program, we set out to provide added value to our members by offering discounts on everything from groceries to fitness gear to yoga and gym packages to help them embrace and maintain a healthy lifestyle,” said Kathryn Levine, BCBSM’s vice president of corporate marketing and customer experience, in the press release. “There are over 90 partners in the program to date, and our partnership with Larky now gives members easier access to those opportunities to make healthy lifestyle choices that are healthy for the pocketbook, too.”

“We’re providing meaningful value to the consumer, which is going to drive up adoption,” said Hammerman. He said BCBSM “created a great program and they were getting people to join in, but not enough people” were taking advantage of the program as it was intended.

“An organization’s member discounts are only as good as its’ members awareness and usage of those discounts,” he said.

[See also: House explores FDA’s mobile health role.]

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