Highmark is the next health plan to launch mobile health programs, signalling a tipping point in health insurance companies getting up-close-and-personal with members’ wellness.

Encouraging Words of Wisdom is a personal nutrition coaching program for plan enrollees who meet with dieticians. Members can opt-in to receive motivational text messages and support ongoing commitments to healthy eating. One such message reads, “The best food comes in its own package.”

Another app enables members to find a doctor using GPS or to calculate their co-pay amount for a service.

Highmark’s head of health services strategy said in the company’s press release, “We understand that members want to interact with their health insurer on their own terms.” Thus, expect more such programs from the health plan that help members customize their Highmark consumer experience.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: The savviest health plans are in the process of re-imagining the role of a health insurance plan as time ticks toward 2014, when Health Insurance Exchanges bring a new level of transparency and marketing channels to U.S. health consumers. Some plans are betting on Big Data Analytics; some are going very direct-to-consumer. By 2014, the smartest of them will have forged new identities beyond their traditional insurance function. They will look and feel more like consumer goods companies, with storefronts in shopping malls and branded engaging mobile phone apps for managing health and making doctors’ appointments.

Highmark’s website says, “For more than 70 years, Highmark has helped to build healthier, stronger communities. Let us be your partner in good health — at your doctor’s office, at your workplace, at home, and in your community.”

This is Highmark’s way of saying they want to support members where they “live, work, play and pray,” as coined by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked