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Blue Cross/Blue Shield piloting gamification concept to help incentivize patient participation in health ed platform

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Game mechanics — including points, badges and leader boards — may be a key to controlling rising healthcare costs, executives leading a recently completed pilot program by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota reported on Tuesday. The state's first healthcare plan has adopted a solution from Change Healthcare called Healthcare University, which uses videos, quizzes, games and game mechanics to make benefits education easy and impactful, to teach consumers how their benefits work and how to make value-based healthcare decisions.

"Change Healthcare's unique approach to benefits education has allowed us to maximize engagement with our employees and ensure they are prepared for the coming changes in healthcare," stated David Corkum, SVP commercial markets. 

For the pilot, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota implemented Healthcare University for its own employees. The goal was to recruit 20% of employees to the platform, however, registration rates exceeded that target by 90%, with each user completing an average of eight courses. Course subjects included health insurance basics, benefits selection, billing and ways to save. A user satisfaction survey revealed employees awarded the platform an A- for overall satisfaction.

Based on the successful pilot, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota will introduce the platform to its members during the upcoming open-enrollment period.

Today, fewer than 20% of employees understand their health benefits, but they are increasingly responsible for shouldering a greater percentage of health costs. Healthcare University teaches consumers about the price variations that exist in the marketplace and helps drive down costs by demonstrating the advantages of weighing cost, quality and convenience when shopping for care.

Understanding those pricing variations will become more important as consumers move to both public and private exchanges and encounter benefit designs with higher deductibles than they've seen in the past. "As healthcare reform rolls out, it's more important than ever to provide benefits education to consumers," noted Clayton Nicholas, VP strategy and marketing at Change Healthcare. "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is staying on the forefront in driving increased employee engagement as a way to control those costs."

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Healthcare University pilot case study can be accessed at http://info.changehealthcare.com/EN201307.html.

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