A Seattle tech start-up led by entrepreneur Russell Benaroya on Tuesday released the first national ranking of health-insurance companies based on how well they “engage with and empower consumers to manage their own health,” according to a news release.
EveryMove, Inc., ranked the top 100 national and regional health insurers on more than 50 metrics related to consumer engagement, such as whether the insurers offer incentive programs to motivate consumers to adopt healthy habits, how active they are on social media, and whether they offer mobile web sites and apps.
Those are all areas in which EveryMove is attempting to carve its own niche. The company works with health plans to engage consumers in healthy activities through point systems that result in rewards from retailers and employers. For example, the company has developed a free iPhone app that tracks a user’s daily activities, such as walking and biking, and converts those activities into rewards.
According to EveryMove, consumers’ need for comparative information about health insurers is “greater than ever” because the Affordable Care Act is expected to bring millions of consumers into the federal and state health-insurance exchanges to purchase health insurance for the first time. The company’s news release said first-time buyers of health insurance need comparative information that goes beyond cost and coverage of specific health-care services, which is the information that will be provided by the exchanges, including Washington Healthplanfinder.
“In a competitive market, they’re going to expect health insurers to differentiate themselves on more than just price and government-mandated features,” said Benaroya, EveryMove’s CEO. Consumers also need information on the insurers’ “customer-focused service,” he said.
The “EveryMove 100” ranking includes several carriers that operate in Washington and have had individual health plans approved by the insurance commissioner for Washington Healthplanfinder. Premera Blue Cross ranks highest, at No. 9, while Group Health Cooperative is ranked No. 11 and LifeWise Health Plan of Washington is No. 21.
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, whose individual health plans were rejected by the insurance commissioner, is ranked 50th. Kaiser is appealing the commissioner’s decision and a hearing is scheduled for Thursday. Kaiser’s plans aimed at the small-business market, which is separate from the individual market, were approved for the exchange in several counties for 2014.