Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City expanded its partnership with HealthMine, a technology company providing member engagement solutions, to build a rewards program for the payer’s individual and family Affordable Care Act members.
The Missouri-based payer, also known as Blue KC, has an existing partnership with HealthMine to offer a rewards program for its Medicare Advantage plan members. The program focuses on encouraging preventive health actions, such as annual wellness visits, flu shots and breast cancer screenings, by offering the ability to earn rewards in the form of gift cards to national and local retailers, Jenn Ader, senior director of client services at HealthMine said in an email.
“The program has also continued to evolve to provide additional features, including a digital health risk assessment delivered through the program application to help Blue KC better understand their members’ health status and risks,” she said.
Members interact with the program through a mobile app, web portal and live customer service support, she added.
Through the expanded partnership, HealthMine will build an incentive and rewards program for the insurer’s ACA members similar to the one for its Medicare Advantage members, giving the ACA members incentives to complete health actions and digital health risk assessments.
“The rewards program helps our MA members engage with their healthcare decisions and develop an ongoing relationship with their primary care providers,” said Lori Rund, vice president of government programs at Blue KC, via email. “We expect it will do the same for our ACA members, ultimately giving them the tools they need to successfully navigate the healthcare system and reach their long-term health goals.”
Creating incentive programs for ACA plan members is especially important, because these members tend not to seek routine medical care as they previously may not have had health insurance coverage, James Haskins, HealthMine’s director of government programs, said in an email.
These programs, “by rewarding preventive visits, encourage members to establish a relationship with a provider — this relationship is a launching point for the member on a journey of engagement in managing their health,” he said.
Engaging plan members in preventive healthcare has become even more challenging amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as the fear of contracting the deadly new coronavirus has kept people from routine care visits. By June 30, an estimated 41% of U.S. adults had delayed or avoided medical care due to concerns about Covid-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.
“There are ways to minimize the effects of Covid-19 on preventive care by providing a solution that seamlessly connects members to the care they need and incentivizes them to get needed care — that’s where rewards programs can come in,” Haskins said.
In addition, as the Covid-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, health plans need to be able to communicate with its members, especially the younger and healthier members that tend to have ACA plans, to give them information about vaccine availability and safety, he said.
“Offering an associated reward helps increase member interest and move those who may not have sought this vaccine otherwise,” he added.
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