Healthcare Monitor Awards: BCBS of Illinois/Massachusetts, Cigna and Aetna Provide Superior Locators and Estimators

Michelle Ammirati by on Jan 17, 2017

Healthcare Monitor is pleased to offer its first Monitor Awards recognizing health insurance plans’ excellence in online user experience. In this report, we offer an analysis of the state of the health insurance industry’s best digital resources and features by benchmarking industry leaders across six major aspects of digital member portals: Coverage and Benefits, Claims Details, Plan Balances, Locators and Estimators, Personal Health Records, and Health and Wellness Educational Centers. To launch our first annual awards with Healthcare Monitor, we now provide a brief summary of top firms within the Locators and Estimators category:

Locators and Estimators

In assessing this aspect of digital health platforms, we focus on provider locator tools as the valuable member site tools allow plan members to find in-network doctors quickly and easily. Further, they have the potential to become members’ default health research resources because of their unparalleled ability to determine and filter doctors to those available in a user’s network. Cost estimators provide users insight and clarity when looking at specific procedures, providing an expected out-of-pocket cost. These tools can be essential because insurance plan type, among other factors, can significantly alter the range of rates and charges across multiple services. When combined, locator tools and cost estimators better equip users with an in-network provider and an idea of the cost of treatment.

The gold medal winners for this category were BCBS of Illinois and BCBS of Massachusetts, both of which partnered with Vitals to provide a best-practice tool that combines a healthcare services cost estimator and provider locator into one resource. The health plans also excel in the areas of depth of inputs, overall design, ease of use and value-added features, including a cost comparison capability, provider ratings, hospital quality grades and an in-depth cost breakdown of services as they relate to members’ plans.

Cigna received a silver medal for its integrated locator and estimator tool. Additional enhancements, such as increasing the number of inputs allowed for improved accuracy or comparison capabilities, could have earned Cigna a higher ranking.

Aetna’s separate cost estimator and provider finder tools earned a bronze medal by offering several excellent resources that help members find the right provider, estimate the costs of medical services and provide quality comparison details. The tools, however, lack some of the design attributes, search and input options, and integration and navigation elements found in leading health plans’ resources.

For a more in-depth review of this category and the rest of the 2016 Healthcare Monitor Awards, contact Craig Sherter for more information or click here for a free slide deck highlighting the gold medal winners across all six categories.

About The Author

Michelle Ammirati

Michelle is an Analyst for Healthcare Monitor at Corporate Insight. Read more