Technology never seems to stop evolving. When you look at how it affects different industries, one, in particular, has become more streamlined due to the impact of technology. Now, phone applications and websites make up the majority of interactions between a company and a subscriber.
When visiting private health insurance websites, you begin by getting quotes for new coverage. You can explore all the different options and types of coverages available, hopefully finding the one plan you like.
Once you sign up for the plan with a health insurance company, you begin paying monthly premiums for the coverage. When making the payment, there are a few different options available for subscribers - automatic payments, online or phone payments, and payments by mail.
If you choose the automatic payment method, the insurance company will pull the payment from your bank account on the same day each month. Many people prefer the out of sight and out of mind method like this because they won't ever forget to pay their premium.
Online or phone payments are the same philosophy. Only you are the one who goes online or calls a number to initiate the payment, either through your bank's bill pay (online only) or the insurance company's website or telephone number.
The last payment method, and becoming increasingly unpopular, is sending in the payment. In fact, many insurance companies will provide an incentive if you sign-up for their e-billing and make the payment online.
When you visit your primary care physician's office, the first thing they are likely to do is to check to see if your insurance information is valid. They do this by searching your subscriber number in that insurance company's database. In most cases, they can see copays, and if you need a referral.
Most insurance sites have streamlined customer service through chats or online resources that allow you to check prescription prices, coverages, and almost any information you need without picking up the phone or visiting a private agent.
The claims process has also become more accessible through technology. Claims can be submitted through the company's website or on your smartphone. Many will even accept paperwork that has been photographed by a phone's camera. The referral process is simpler when you don't have to send in a document and wait seven to ten days for a reply. Many insurance companies can provide a 24- to 36-hour turnaround time.
Another way that health insurance companies are streamlining procedures is by offering incentives for healthy habits. For example, many people own some kind of fitness tracker, either Garmin, FitBit, Samsung, or a random off-brand (likely with an app attached to it). The information from these trackers can help health insurance companies see steps, heart rate, and other vitals that may indicate activity levels. This incentive is more likely to occur through an employer who pays part of the premium, helping promote healthier lifestyles.
There have been many technological advances so far within the health insurance industry, but this is only the beginning. As new technology becomes available, we may see even more streamlined processes that benefit subscribers in the future. These advances are what help individuals pay less for premiums and receive better coverage overall.