HARTFORD, Conn.--(AET) members often have the same questions when they need to receive a health care service – Am I covered? What will it cost me? Is the doctor or facility in my network?)--Aetna (NYSE:
“Ann is easy to use, talks to our members in plain language and helps them easily find the health benefits information they need”
To help members get answers to these common questions as easily as possible, Aetna combined the skills of two of its most popular member tools – “Ask Ann” and the Member Payment Estimator. “Ann” is a personalized, virtual assistant that helps guide members visiting Aetna Navigator®, Aetna’s secure member website. The Member Payment Estimator provides real-time out-of-pocket cost estimates and cost comparisons for more than 550 commonly used, non-emergency in-network health services, as well as many common out-of-network physician services.
The enhanced version of “Ann” can quickly guide members to:
- Find if a service is covered
- Estimate the cost of services
- Locate an in-network facility or physician related to their search
- Compare costs by facility or physician
“Ann is easy to use, talks to our members in plain language and helps them easily find the health benefits information they need,” said Kristi Matus, executive vice president and head of Aetna’s consumer engagement initiatives. “By integrating Ann with the Member Payment Estimator, Ann operates like a highly skilled, virtual concierge for our members, gathering benefits information and quickly getting them cost estimates on health care services.”
Ann averages more than 20,000 chats per day, making her one of the most popular features on Aetna Navigator. Members can click on Ann to open a chat window and enter a question. She then provides an immediate written and spoken response in friendly terms to create a personal and interactive experience.
When members ask Ann some of the most common questions about receiving health care services, they will immediately have access to information from the Member Payment Estimator. The Member Payment Estimator gives members a more complete, personalized picture of the costs involved with their health care. In addition, the Member Payment Estimator will proactively display up to 10 cost estimates at a time for the selected procedure in a geographic area, which can help make members more aware of the cost differences among different health care providers.
“Whenever possible, we encourage our members to know the costs before they receive health care services. Our research has shown that members who use the Member Payment Estimator may save as much as $170 of out-of-pocket costs on more than 30 commonly selected health care services they can research with this tool,” said Matus. “We expect to see more of our members doing this research now that we’ve incorporated the Member Payment Estimator into our virtual assistant, Ann.”
The Member Payment Estimator was recently highlighted in a Commonwealth Fund report on the importance of health care price transparency. Last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report regarding the transparency of health care costs, and the Member Payment Estimator was recognized as the only tool from a private health insurance company that “provides estimates of a consumer’s complete cost.”
To take a tour of Aetna Navigator or see a demonstration of Ann, visit http://www.aetna.com/individuals-families-health-insurance/tool/tour-index.html. Additional information on the Member Payment Estimator is available at www.aetnatools.com, or through a case study from Forrester Research.
Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.7 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services and health information technology services. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.