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United Healthcare?s Health4Me app extends to general consumer base, furthers appeal

Health insurance provider United Healthcare?s mobile application Health4Me has been extended to all consumers following months of limited access for customers insured by United Healthcare. 

The app offers new features such as the ability to search for nearby urgent care facilities and costs of more than 520 medical services, which aims to allow consumers to easily budget for their medical expenses. United Healthcare saw the benefits it was providing to its plan participants and decided to broaden its appeal by making it available to any smartphone user.

?Giving consumers access to important medical cost information is improving transparency and making it easier for people to navigate the healthcare system,? said Yasmine Winkler, chief product marketing and innovation officer at United Healthcare, Chicago. 

Narrowing in
Among the more than 500 medical services that are searchable through the app, a comprehensive review is provided alerting users what to expect for each procedure. The app also allows searches for nearby healthcare providers and emergency and convenience care facilities. 

United Healthcare designed the app to give users the ability to make more informed decisions regarding their healthcare and claims to be one of the first healthcare companies to provide such a service and enable consumers to make comparative searches with the medical field.

Prior to its extension, only the 21 million covered by United Healthcare insurance had access to the app, but the extension has garnered more than 900,000 consumer downloads. Health4Me contains a tool called myHealthcare Cost Estimator, which is a ?guest? version that allows the aforementioned price searches.

The app is available for free on iOS and Android.

Expanding healthcare to mobile
Healthcare providers have utilized mobile in different ways, through mobile Web sites and collaborative initiatives, to reach more consumers and provide information on health on a modern platform.

Responsive Web design has made it easier for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. to provide educational materials to its increasingly mobilized consumer base through its Lilly for Better Health site. 

The company uses the site to distribute information around health topics in both video and digital-brochure formats. Having responsive Web design streamlines the approval process for the distribution of these materials because the information only has to go through channels once to ensure it meets regulatory standards (see story).

Dental insurance provider United Concordia and the Philadelphia Zoo launched a three-year partnership focused on the importance of dental health among children and animals via mobile application Chomper Chums that offers participants free tickets to the Zoo.

Chomper Chums will connect oral health to overall wellness with a mobile game, which children can play by collecting digital coins to feed an animal of their choice. The purpose is for children to choose healthy food options for the animals, as children should make similar choices for themselves (see story).

United Healthcare?s expansion of the app hopes to save consumers money and spread awareness.

?With reliable and actionable information about the prices of services, consumers now have an important resource at their fingertips that can help them make decisions to improve their health and save money,? Ms. Winkler said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York