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Aetna taps mobile to simplify claims process for international members

February 26, 2013

Health care benefits company Aetna has launched a new mobile application enabling international customers living outside the United States to easily file a claim by using the camera on their smartphones to take a picture of their documents.

Once users have taken a picture of the necessary documents, they submit their claim with a simple click. The Mobile Assistant app is available from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

“Our international members are globally mobile individuals who are often limited on time, constantly on the go and big users of technology,” said James Kidd, chief information officer for Aetna International, Hartford, CT. “Part of the Aetna International technology strategy is to make it easier for our members and customers to do business with us. 

“Unlike in the United States, where health care providers typically file member claims directly with health insurers, international members sometimes have to pay out of pocket for healthcare services and then file a claim with Aetna International to be reimbursed,” he said. “The Aetna International Mobile Assistant makes filing a claim easier by putting the tools right in the palm of their hands. 

“Members no longer have to rely on the postal system, fax machine or e-mail to get us their claim forms and receipts.”

Claims on the go
The Mobile Assistant app was designed for international customers living outside the U.S. to make it easy to file a claim no matter where they are. It can be used by Aetna International members on plans sold out of Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The app will be rolled out to U.S. expatriates later this year.

To use the app, members can take a picture of completed claims forms via their mobile device as well as all relevant receipts and then upload the pictures directly to Aetna International for processing.

Upon submission, members receive a confirmation within the app as well as via e-mail including a reference tracking number that they can use for future inquiries about the status of the claim.

Users can also make updates to previous mobile claims submissions as well as access and download relevant claim forms and view their member profile information. 

Members rely on mobile
The app joins several others from Aetna, including free provider directory apps that enable international members to find nearby doctors and hospitals in Aetna’s network as well as apps that help customers understand their symptoms, monitor their exercise and eating habits, and track their claims.

“In the past 12 months we’ve launched a number of multilingual provider directory applications that help members locate care while on expatriate assignment,” Mr. Kidd said. “In addition, we’ve launched the mobile claims submission tool as well as a text messaging engagement program to help inpatriate members in the United States understand and access the U.S. healthcare system.

“Our member population, as well as the global population in general, has expressed a clear expectation that we make our tools and services available via mobile devices,” he said. “Members are relying more heavily on their mobile devices than they are on their desktop or laptop computers. 

“With that in mind, our 2013 mobile strategy includes plans to develop tools and applications that make it easy for members to access benefits information, claims data, submit claims, manage their health and wellness and interact with Aetna International.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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