Must-Have Features for Your Health Insurance App

The recent J.D. Power U.S. Healthcare Digital Experience Study found that many health insurance companies fail to meet customer expectations in the digital age. Nearly a third of health insurance websites and apps fail basic functionality tests.

Why Your Health Insurance App Matters

The study proves to be a damning indictment of the state of health insurance apps. J.D. Power found that among commercial health plans with overall satisfaction scores greater than 801 on a 1,000-point scale, 53% of members are likely to have a more positive employer impression. Within Medicare Advantage plans with similar overall satisfaction scores, 89% of members say they definitely will renew with their current plan.

The average commercial health plan scored 646, while the average Medicare Advantage plan scored 629. Those scores measure significantly lower than those highlighted above. Health insurance plans are at risk of member and employer dissatisfaction and churn with such low satisfaction scores. 

A well-designed health insurance app and website helps members navigate to find necessary information, seamlessly integrates services like telehealth and bill pay, and does so quickly, without noticeable delay. Learn more about these must-have features:

Clear and Concise Information

A recent KFF Survey of Consumer Experiences with Health Insurance found that half of insured adults have at least some difficulty understanding their insurance. That may include:

  • Difficulty understanding what insurance covers. More than a third of respondents to KFF’s survey say this was at least somewhat difficult.
  • Difficulty deciphering out-of-pocket costs. Nearly a third of respondents say it’s difficult to understand their out-of-pocket costs.
  • Difficulty understanding Explanation of Benefits (EOB). Close to a third of respondents thought it could be easier to understand EOBs.
  • Difficulty understanding health insurance jargon. A quarter of respondents found it difficult to understand specific insurance terms like deductible, coinsurance, prior authorization and allowed amount.
  • Difficulty navigating provider networks. Nearly a quarter of respondents indicated it was somewhat difficult to understand where to find information about covered doctors and hospitals.

Users shouldn’t have to decipher complex jargon when using your app. Clearly explain coverage details, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, and pre-approval processes. Organize information logically and present it in an easy-to-read format. 

Consider features like a doctor finder that helps connect members to doctors, pharmacies, and providers quickly and easily. Integrate the finder with the phone’s location services to simplify finding nearby facilities.

Finally, consider creating simple calculators to display expected service costs at specific providers and simplified electronic EOBs that identify out-of-pocket responsibility.

Intuitive Navigation

Your members commonly use intuitive apps and websites throughout the day. If your app doesn’t meet that standard, members will fail to use it. 

Make it easy for users to find what they need quickly. Implement a clear and consistent navigation bar with easily identifiable icons and labels. Don’t overload your navigation so it’s difficult to find features. Make a search function easy to find and reliable to use.

Many apps – including those from insurers – start members on a user-friendly dashboard that displays frequently requested information like plan details, deductibles, and claims. Leverage a dashboard to relate important information and use it as a natural jumping-off point for members.

Finally, as generative artificial intelligence solutions continue to improve, consider building an AI agent that can help surface information and provide a more interactive experience. Generative AI enables virtual agents to learn from past interactions, improving responses to complex queries and topics. Members appreciate generative AI agents because they aren’t bound by programmed scripts. Instead, responses use context, creating a better user experience.

Integrated Services

According to J.D. Power’s review of digital properties, just 21% satisfied all criteria for high-functioning digital properties, which includes integrated telehealth services. 

Members expect to be able to access telehealth solutions through a health plan’s app. Integrating telehealth in your app makes it easy for users to connect with healthcare providers. Partner with telehealth providers for urgent care consultations, medication refills, and chronic condition management.

It’s also important that members can perform common tasks – like paying their monthly premium – in the app. Integrating services like health insurance premium billing into the app and providing a seamless, single sign-on experience for other services you may offer makes your app more usable instead of forcing members to use multiple apps for various insurance-related activities.

Speed and Reliability

Our attention spans are shortening. If it takes seconds to open your app and view data, that’s too long. Ensure your app is fast and reliable to maximize usage. To improve speed:

  • Reduce the app startup time by leveraging lazy loading and code optimization techniques, and use as few third-party libraries as possible.
  • Always be measuring and optimizing database queries. Slow queries can slow down an app, angering users.
  • Optimize image sizes. Large images can slow your app to a crawl. Use tools to optimize image size to speed up your app.
  • Leverage lazy loading. Lazy loading only loads data when needed, speeding up app speeds.

Utilizing software development lifecycle methods, including automated and manual testing, can help limit bugs and performance issues that may impact usability. User testing and feedback loops can also help improve the application.

Health insurance companies can create a user-friendly and efficient customer experience by implementing the features previously mentioned. This not only improves customer satisfaction but can also lead to increased engagement and better health outcomes.

Certifi’s health insurance billing and payment solutions help payers improve member satisfaction while reducing administrative costs.

Download a Guide to Premium Billing Software for Health Insurers

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