Managed care organizations are broadening the reach of their Web sites to better serve their members, providers, staffs, and brokers.
Posted Nov 10, 2004
According to a new Capgemini survey, managed care organizations (MCOs) are giving their Web sites a shot in the arm by expanding them to provide additional Web self-service options aimed at improving efficiency and serving more customers.
The annual survey, "How Health Plans Are Using the Internet to Reach Customers," is based on data garnered from the examination of 97 external, publicly available Web sites, including commercial health, for profit, and nonprofit plans, as well as from regional and national chains. The CRM consultancy also interviewed payer Web masters and profiled features offered by selected payers.
According to Peter Kongstvedt, M.D., secondary author of the report and Capgemini vice president, the survey is broken into four broad categories of customers, "the four horsemen of the portal" --members, employers, providers, and brokers. Expanded functionality is one of the major trends reflected in the conducted research. "Basically, [there was] increased functionality in all of [the customer categories], and that confirms a trend that we've been seeing for the last couple of years," he says. "There was an interesting drop in functionality that occurred right around the time HIPAA came out," he says, because health plans had to retool for HIPAA compliance.
Survey results also illustrate increased employer functionality, with most sites equipping employers with the ability to access publications and wellness information, update member information, and to enroll members. As health plans offer members more online administrative capabilities, 66 percent of sites allow members to alter information, up from last year's 39 percent. Fifty-three percent allow members to complete a health risk assessment, compared to 30 percent for last year. Forty-seven percent of sites offer options online to change physicians, which is a 15 percentage-point boost from last year. Forty-two percent of sites have an offer to complete an enrollment application, a rise in last year's 28 percent.
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