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Three Insurers Take The Plunge Into Telehealth

Two Blue plans are piloting American Well online and mobile health services, while Humana Cares selects a new provider for a congestive heart failure initiative.

Like telematics in auto insurance, telehealth in health insurance provides an opportunity for insurers to have a closer dialog with their policyholders and better manage their risk of loss. And it's growing at a similar rate: This week, three prominent insurers announced new telehealth initiatives.

BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts announced partnerships with American Well, a telehealth provider that also works with WellPoint. American Well will provide physician consultation to policyholders of those companies through iPads, iPhones, Android devices and webcam-equipped PCs.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana plans to leverage American Well's telehealth platform as an added feature of its new Quality Blue Primary Care chronic disease management offering, while Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will use it with provider groups in its Alternative Quality Contract, a health care budget system that "focuses on improving quality of care and health outcomes while reducing health care spending growth," according to the insurer.

[Highmark's Telehealth Pilot]

Meanwhile, Humana has contracted with AMC Health to pilot a telehealth initiative with 450 Humana Medicare Advantage members in Ohio suffering from congestive heart failure. Remote patient monitoring hardware being used include s Bluetooth-enabled scales and blood pressure monitors, which will be used in conjunction with a cellular modem and IVR technology. AMC Health will deliver the technology, logistics, and clinical support services, capturing symptom and biometric information such as daily blood pressure, pulse and body weight.

Humana implemented a similar program with technology from Trapollo, with 1,600 Humana Medicare Advantage customers suffering from congestive heart failure, last year. At the time of publication, the status of that program was unknown.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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