PROVIDENCE – To aid consumers as they consider buying products in the new health insurance marketplace, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has teamed with Click With Me Now, a St. Louis-based firm that offers one-click, no download, web co-browsing software.
The free online screen-sharing application, which can connect consumers across any platform including smartphones, personal computers and tablets, is being targeted at two market segments in Rhode Island – those purchasing health insurance on the R.I. Health Benefits Exchange, and those purchasing additional Medicare coverage, according to Jim Gallagher, vice president of Product Development at Blue Cross.
“The whole theory behind this is that buying health insurance can be confusing,” Gallagher said. “Most people need additional resources and assistance to make the buying decision. This makes it a lot easier – where you can share that information online with a loved one to help you navigate making those decisions.”
Click With Me Now’s software package is different from other kinds of screen-sharing technologies because of its security, Brian Handrigan, the firm’s CEO, told Providence Business News. “The only thing we’re sharing is that one web site [from Blue Cross]. No one will have access to anything else on your computer”
In research looking at the comfort level consumers have with buying a product, Handrigan said that health insurance stood out as something many consumers didn’t understand.
“With health insurance, people don’t want to admit that they don’t’ understand it,” he said. As a result, he continued, “they tend to make a rash, quick decision, if they are shopping on their own, in that moment of anxiety.”
By looking at how consumers make decisions, and providing support for them, Click With Me Now creates a sense of empathy, a relationship with the consumer, Handrigan said.
The creation of an online marketplace through the new exchange, where consumers can research, shop and buy health insurance, has resulted in health insurers in the Rhode Island market developing new consumer-driven applications to assist in decision-making.
Blue Cross will provide its customers with a suite of transparency tools with cost sand quality information, according to Gallagher. The difference between what Blue Cross is doing with its partnership with Click With Me Now and other health insurers is providing information before the purchase is made, and not just to members after the sale of a health plan. “It’s pivotal for people to become better consumers in purchasing health insurance,” Gallagher said.
When the R.I. Health Benefits Exchange opens on Oct. 1, Gallagher continued, “There will be a lot of folks needing to make decisions and choices about coverage. When they come over to our website, these folks are going to need to try and understand what they are purchasing, and I want to make it as easy as possible.”
Gallagher said that Blue Cross was working closely with the exchange to make the flow of information as seamless as possible.
“A lot of these decisions are still being mapped out in the coming weeks,” Gallagher said. “I think folks are going to want to understand what their options are. I don’t know what the level of detail is going to show up when you go to the exchange. It’s not going to be as robust as our website as far as the explanation and analysis of benefits” Gallagher claimed. “That’s where Click With Me Now comes in.”