Health Insurers Tap Social Media Networks To Engage Consumers

TOPIC ALERT:

Some health insurers are using social networking sites to engage consumers in discussions about their health, Insurance & Technology reports.

For example, Louisville-based Humana's Lifesynch division recently launched a social network -- called Humanaville -- for its Medicare Advantage and Medicare Advantage Part D beneficiaries. Users can access information, play games, and take part in online chats and community forums. The website also features locations such as a town square, health clinic, library, fitness center and relaxation spots.

According to Lifesynch Vice President Dan Clark, the online community aims to offer relevant information for policyholders while encouraging greater participation in its member assistance program.

Meanwhile, Independence Blue Cross of Philadelphia in recent months has invested heavily in its Healthy Steps social media campaign and recently launched a smartphone application. The app features a pedometer, GPS, and other fitness and nutrition tools. Users can share their progress on Facebook, Twitter and via text message.

John Janney -- senior vice president of marketing services at Independence Blue Cross -- said the organization has established trust with consumers by being transparent about how it interacts with their data.

Implications

Doug VanWingerden -- a senior executive at Accenture Health -- said if insurance companies can develop meaningful ways to connect with users through social media, consumers could be more likely to have a more favorable perception of their brand.

He added that paying attention to consumers' activities on social media could help companies identify instances where consumers are confused or dissatisfied (Golia, Insurance & Technology, 8/11).


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