blankCorporate Insight’s most recent survey of approximately 500 mobile health plan app users in May 2018 collected data on member app usage and on users’ feelings about different app functionalities. Our data supports the industry trend of rising importance of member apps, with 83% of respondents deeming them “very important” or “extremely important” on a five-point importance scale. In addition, 63% of respondents indicated that they logged into their insurers’ apps within the last six months, which marks a 20 percentage point increase in usage compared to our 2016 survey. Indeed, the data shows that insurance members are becoming more mobile-savvy.

2018 survey respondents considered the most important functionalities in the member app experience to be coverage and health information (81% rated this “very important” or “extremely important”), prescription management (76%), and design and usability (75%). Moreover, many respondents also indicated that they had actively looked up their prescription history (36%), plan information (26%) and coverage and benefits (25%) within the last six months. With plan members using health insurer apps increasingly often, health plans have an opportunity to increase member satisfaction by revamping the mobile experience in several key areas, notably digital care and prescription management.

Corporate Insight’s Mobile Health Plan Audit benchmarks insurers’ member apps against those of their key competitors, with the primary goal of identifying improvement opportunities and strategic recommendations that, if followed, would lead to a best-in-class app experience. Using our proprietary Audit grading framework, we rate the authenticated member app against a selected group of competitors across over 140 individual attributes spanning six core categories: Coverage & Health Information; Plan Servicing; Cost Estimators, Locators & Other Tools; Design & Navigation; Telehealth and Pharmacy.

The Audit framework, grade definitions and criteria are based on industry best practices we have identified from research for our Health Plan Monitor service, which tracks the member experience of 16 leading plans. We draw recommendations from the Audit’s gap analysis, industry best practices and preferences of member app users, which were collected through our May 2018 survey. Our Audit is designed to help drive strategic planning efforts through actionable recommendations with the end goal of providing clients a better mobile experience.

Initial findings from our Audit indicate that even leading health insurers have room for improvement in delivering the best user experience to their member mobile app users. We identified two categories with exceptional potential for improvement: Design and Navigation, and Plan Servicing. Few firms go beyond the most basic criteria in these categories in the capabilities they offer to members. For example, plan servicing features—such as customer service emailing capabilities, help resources, FAQs, alerts and reminders—are generally lacking despite being rated as “very important” or “extremely important” by 75% of members we surveyed.

As members’ expectations of insurer apps rise, plans will need to step up their offerings. Across a 16-plan coverage group, member app experiences vary, with some insurers offering ample information, others duplicating the desktop experience for smaller screens, and others incorporating little content. As the industry continues to innovate and consumer expectations rise, Corporate Insight’s Mobile Health Plan Audit framework evolves to reflect those expectations. This year, as virtual visits and prescription ordering capabilities become more prevalent, we expanded our framework to include analyses of both telehealth and pharmacy management elements.