Health Plans Betting on HIX to Bring in Business

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media , November 14, 2012

Healthcare consumerism has already been playing out with the onslaught of retail clinics, online comparison tools, and various hospital ranking guides. But Florida Blue is taking it to a whole new level.

Setting up shop
In 2007, Florida Blue opened its first retail center initially aimed at selling only its health insurance products. There are now 11 Florida Blue retail centers across the state, and, Geraghty says, the centers have evolved to be a sort of all-in-one insurance information center.

"You can walk in with your claim, your EOB, and we will walk you through it, line–by-line so you fully understand what the transaction was. We have customer service folks who can teach you to use online tools. We also have clinicians. We have nurses who will do a health risk assessment and then tailor that health and wellness fitness program for that particular member," says Geraghty.

If you're thinking Florida Blue's focus on building a physical presence is counterintuitive compared to what online tools can offer for the cost, Geraghty says you're not alone.

"I was challenged in one of these center openings when someone said, ‘Why would you spend money on bricks and mortar?' And my very simple response back was, "Why did Apple open Apple stores? They can sell everything they do online."

It really is about the experience. And we know, our product and healthcare is much more complex and much more personal, and we think there are a lot of reasons to create that connection to the customer."

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