The new or updated features, which Capital put in before the start of the fall benefits-enrollment season, include tools and services that let plan members access a digital version of their member identification card, register for telehealth visits and see doctors online, as well as review in an easier-to-use format their benefits information, medical claims and explanation of benefits.

A Blue Cross plan serving about 770,000 members in central Pennsylvania is well into a three-part strategy to update its digital healthcare tools.

Last summer, Capital BlueCross, a health insurer based in Harrisburg, Pa., with a membership base in the central part of the state and in Lehigh Valley, finished the first phase of its digital upgrade. “The website and benefits portal needed to be easier for plan members to use,” says Capital BlueCross chief marketing officer Donna Lencki.

Capital worked in-house and with three web design firms to complete the first phase. The new or updated features, which Capital put in before the start of the fall benefits-enrollment season, include tools and services that let plan members access a digital version of their member identification card, register for telehealth visits and see doctors online, as well as review in an easier-to-use format their benefits information, medical claims and explanation of benefits.

Whether the site is being accessed by a smartphone, tablet or personal computer, the information will be clear.

The updated site also features a new “preference center,” which allows members to choose if they prefer texts or e-mails when they communicate with Capital. An existing text-messaging platform from Capital already provides wellness tips and personalized messaging to members who sign up, Lencki says.

“Understanding health plan information, like benefits, deductibles and provider networks, can be overwhelming,” Lencki says. “As healthcare consumers ourselves, we needed to make the experience much easier and engaging for our members.”

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With the first phase complete, Capital Blue Cross around mid-July expects to roll out phase two of its digital plan update, which is an expansion of telehealth. During the fall benefits-enrollment season, Capital worked with more employers to get more employees registered to use telehealth. This summer Capital will roll out more telehealth services. In addition to scheduling and seeing a provider for acute care, or walk-in-clinic types of problems, plan members also will have access to providers for behavioral health issues.

Telehealth has been available to customers enrolled in most Capital BlueCross health plans since January 2016. So far, plan members that use telehealth services conduct a video visit with a provider that is a part of the American Well network, Capital’s telehealth provider. The third part of Capital’s digital upgrade plan is to add more of its network of providers to the telehealth platform, although the time frame for doing so has yet to be determined.

About 200,000 plan members are registered users of the Capital BlueCross benefits information portal, the health insurer says. Capital BlueCross doesn’t have an app, but the updated website and benefits portal does feature responsive design, which means the site and portal can be accessed on desktop computers and mobile devices.

“Whether the site is being accessed by a smartphone, tablet or personal computer, the information will be clear, concise and easy to use—all contributing to a better overall experience and improved ability to make informed healthcare decisions, Lencki says.

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