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Anthem Gets Healthy

BCBS carrier hopes to improve members' health with personalized content—ultimately reducing medical claims.

Reducing Claims

Another newly launched initiative that is under careful supervision is My Health@Anthem, a personalized online health information center that is located on the Anthem home page ( MyHealth@Anthem is designed to cut Anthem's costs by providing early medical intervention, not by aiming to reduce administrative costs, points out Mark Boxer, senior vice president, e-business. ""Most health insurance company sites aim to reduce administrative expenses,"" Boxer says. ""MyHealth@Anthem is all about increasing the health of our members,"" and by improving members' health, logically claims should be reduced, he suggests. The member services portion of—another part of Anthem's e-customer service offerings—provides change-of-address functionality, forms, online handbooks, ID card requests and other services.

Since Anthem prefers to buy rather than build, it did not spend months developing material for the site. Rather, it entered into an ASP agreement with San Francisco-based Consumer Health Interactive (CHI), a developer of consumer-focused Web sites for healthcare organizations that provides clinically reviewed content and personalization features.

""Building is our last option when it comes to e-business development,"" says Mary Scanlon, vice president, e-business. ""CHI has the largest amount of qualified, clinically reviewed content available. They could also provide speed to market for us. It was the fastest implementation we have ever done.""

Boxer says Anthem is responding to customers' demand for health data. ""Health information is one of the top items that people access on the Internet,"" Boxer says. ""About 56 percent of Web users are looking for health information. That translates to 51 million people. MyHealth@Anthem is unique to the industry because of the degree of personalization it provides.""

CHI provides the content to My Health@Anthem and users access the CHI information through a tailored site. ""It is really just a link to CHI's site, but you wouldn't know it,"" Boxer says. Users, including members, non-Anthem members and providers, can personalize information for their specific needs.

There are a number of self-care centers on MyHealth@Anthem—cancer, heart disease, digestive disorders and weight control—and more centers will be added later this year, including a pregnancy center and a drug interaction center. ""If you think about medical management, it is about intervention,"" Scanlon says. ""We are trying to make people active users of the site because we want them to stay healthy. For members with maintenance conditions, there is easy-to-find information,"" including 20,000 articles on health information and breaking news stories, says Scanlon.

Anthem currently is informing members of the site through its employees and call center representatives, and by working with its employer customers. ""We want the entire Anthem population to use it,"" Boxer says. ""We do not view this as separate from our existing healthcare management strategy,"" which includes traditional mailings and other related healthcare material.



COMPANY NAME: Anthem, Inc., Indianapolis, $5.08 billion in assets under management.

LINES OF BUSINESS: Health, vision and dental insurance; prescription management.

KEY EXECUTIVES: Jane Niederberger, senior vice president and chief information officer; Mark Boxer, senior vice president, e-business; Mary Scanlon, vice president, e-business.

IT STAFF: 1,400 in eight states.

IT BUDGET: $350 million-$400 million

KEY INITIATIVES: Consolidating the Midwestern region onto TriZetto's Facets claims management system; MyHealth@Anthem, a personalized health information portal for Anthem members.

IT ARCHITECTURE: TriZetto (Newport Beach, CA) Facets claims and payment processing system; ASP arrangement with Consumer Health Interactive (CHI, San Francisco) for MyHealth@Anthem; outsourcing contract for mainframe processing with Affiliated Computer Systems (ACS, Dallas).


JANE NIEDERBERGER: ""We make sure we are buying technology in the right way and then we make sure we follow up and see the goods are delivered. Following up on projects builds good discipline throughout the entire information technology organization. Managers know they have to return value and know in advance people will be looking for it.""

Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio

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