As Telehealth Grows, Health Insurance Companies Turn to Contact Centers

09

DECEMBER 2020

By: Matthew Vulpis

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, companies and industries around the world quickly began turning to contact centers to keep up with the drastic increase in overall call volume. The healthcare insurance industry was no exception, as companies such as Blue Shield Blue Cross, Aetna, and Medicare found themselves using contact centers to meet the demands of the concerned public.

With the pandemic forcing most of the population to work remotely, this expanded the need for health insurance organizations to provide members with quality communication that are timely and achieve a high member satisfaction rating, while reducing operating costs.

As the economy fluctuates due to the pandemic and the shutdown, health insurance providers are forced to make quick, but necessary adjustments to keep up.

“This required health insurance companies to pivot with changes in the economy, emerging technologies, increased competition and customers’ real-time needs,” said Michael Fritzlo, Executive Chairman of Ironsphere, a company that provides software automation managing privileged access management. “Carriers are partnering with health insurance BPO call centers to gain flexibility and to provide consumers with innovative digital capabilities, along with quick access to caring, competent and knowledgeable agents. We need to make sure every engagement also protects information associated with those consumers by ensuring contact center data is fully protected.”

Health insurance companies, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, have found that they can greatly benefit from the use of contact centers. Health insurance call centers have leveraged their highly experienced and licensed agents to sell policies, while also maximizing efficiency in other facets of their company including handling inbound calls to assist with lead qualification and customer support for warranty, claims, and policy inquiries.

Contact centers have also allowed medical insurance companies to keep up with the necessity for customer service on the go. With the pandemic leaving some people unable to either go to the insurance company in person, or unable to communicate with the company via a specific method of technology, contact centers have given health insurance companies such as Medicare the flexibility to reach out to clients on multiple platforms.

“Having multiple channels of communication is essential in today’s world,” said Fritzlo. “Call center agents can provide e-mail and live chat support to answer any customer inquiries about paybacks, eligibility, or entitlements. Offering various methods of communication with live agents adds convenience for patients, but we need to make sure that the contact centers don’t compromise private and sensitive information.”

While contact centers are becoming more common in the health insurance field, there are drawbacks. As with any healthcare company that uses a contact center, any health insurance company must ensure that its contact center is one hundred percent HIPAA compliant. When it applies, HIPAA’s Privacy Rule establishes limits on the use and disclosure of identifiable health information, and its Security Rule establishes technical, physical, and administrative safeguards to be adopted to protect electronic identifiable health information.

As the need for medical insurance in today’s world only increases, health insurance companies of all sizes have turned to the contact center industry, much like other businesses, in order to keep up with demand.

“Telemedicine makes so much sense on so many levels, beyond the current health crisis,” Michael Fritzlo said. “But for it to work, we need to make cybersecurity a forethought, not an afterthought.”

Originally posted on customerzone360.

 

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