Health assessment tools represent a opportunity for insurers to differentiate themselves to younger generations and create a better user experience. Assessments provide members with an overall health score or personalized recommendations or both. Corporate Insight’s health plan consumer survey found that almost half of Gen Zers (46%) and Millennials (48%) find such tools to be “very” or “extremely” important. Because members can complete these assessments on their own time and as many times as they wish, these tools empower users to monitor their health and make informed decisions. And as for insurers, health assessments—along with other wellness programs—can improve overall health outcomes and reduce costs.

This May, Corporate Insight published a Health Assessment Tools Report (Health Plan Monitor subscription required), evaluating the user experience 15 insurers provide. Assessing the inputs and results, design, help features, and management capabilities, we awarded each tool with a grade of Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor. Here are some best practices from the report on creating a top digital experience when it comes to health assessments.

Ensure members are aware of the health assessment through strong visibility and promotions

Most firms in this report (73%) house such tools on a secondary health and wellness platform—powered by WebMD, for example. The rest (27%) feature in-house tools. Regardless of the location, insurers should use their member site homepages and main menus more by offering direct links to the assessment.

  • Only one firm—Cigna—has a homepage link to the tool.
  • Main menu links are also rare, as only Cigna and Independence Blue Cross link to it from the navigational menu.
  • Horizon Blue stands out as members can easily reach the tool within a click on its Health Resources page, which features a brief description clarifying the tool’s purpose and describes the types of results members will receive.

The remaining firms require many clicks from the homepage or main menu to reach the assessment. Direct links provide a better user experience, as members who cannot easily find the tool may end up getting frustrated and leaving.

Horizon Blue Health Resources Page

Identify health risks and factors members should keep in mind

About half (53%) of the firms in this report generate a numeric score—usually out of 100—that represents the member’s health. Beyond a number, insurers should help members recognize any concerning aspects of their health. Members may not be aware that certain lifestyle habits are connected in a negative way, and they can benefit from an explicit list of factors that require their attention.

  • Highmark BCBS, Horizon Blue and Mass General Brigham Health Plan rank risk or priority items as high, medium or low. This scale is easy for users to understand, allowing them to pick out their immediate focus.
  • EmblemHealth members can view colored progress meters on a scale of “Healthy” to “Unhealthy” to view their risk level for common diseases. For each disease, the firm helpfully outlines risk factors that members can and cannot change.
EmblemHealth My Risk for Diseases Page

Generate actionable recommendations and personalized elements to increase user engagement

Health insurers should recommend next steps for members based on their results, such as programs they can participate in, articles they can read or member-specific tips to improve their health. Firms can go beyond this by offering incentives and rewards for completing these next steps. For example, BCBS of Illinois recommends programs upon completion that correspond to points. Members can redeem the points for various products, such as a Fitbit watch, Apple AirPods or Amazon Echo Studio.

Also, personalized touches may make users feel more engaged, increasing the likelihood of them completing the assessment. A few firms stand out for their feedback responses and different assessment paths. This creates the impression that firms are not just collecting answer after answer from the member, but also picking up on their responses and giving appropriate, real-time feedback.

  • Independence Blue Cross displays feedback based on the inputted responses. For example, in response to members self-rating their health as Good, the firm displays “Seems like you’re pretty happy with your health and that’s great.”
  • The Onlife Health-powered assessments from BCBS of Illinois and Florida Blue dynamically update based on the member’s inputs. There are different paths depending on the member’s inputs. If they indicate that they have never smoked before, they must answer one smoking-related question only. On the other hand, current smokers must answer detailed questions about their smoking frequency and thoughts on quitting.
BCBS of Illinois Weight-Specific Questions

For more insights into digital innovation in the healthcare space, check out our research services in four areas: Health Plan, Medicare, Health System and Pharmacy. Or take a look at our Healthcare Briefings if you’re interested in a specific topic. And don’t forget to check out our Insights section for more industry trends and best practices in the healthcare space.