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UPMC Health Plan Introduces 'Live Chat' for Members and Providers

Thursday, June 24, 2010 Health Insurance News J E 4
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PITTSBURGH, June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- UPMC Health Plan is the first health insurer in the region to offer real-time "live chat" via the Internet to its members and providers, who are enjoying the speed and convenience of getting their health care questions answered in a new way.

Internet chat technology enables members to engage in secure online conversations with a UPMC Health Plan Member Advocate about any topic that may have been dealt with in a phone call in the past. Topics include, but are not limited to, claims, billing, covered benefits, eligibility, enrollment, forms, network, ID cards and changing a primary care physician. The member and the Member Advocate continue their online conversation until the member's needs are met.

User surveys for the new service have generated positive responses from members and providers who find it easy to access and use. For example: "Love it, love it. I was afraid to try it before, but now that I have I will use it all the time."

"This is another example of how we strive to provide great service for our members and providers," said Mary Beth Jenkins, Chief Operating Officer of UPMC Health Plan. "We place special focus on ease of service and on giving our members and providers another option for contacting us."

UPMC Health Plan members and providers gain access to real-time live chat by going to www.upmchealthplan.com and logging in. This ensures that all information provided remains confidential and secure. Live chat is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays for members, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for providers.

In a survey of members who had used live chat, a vast majority gave it positive reviews, with more than 89 percent saying they would more than likely use online chat again to contact UPMC Health Plan. More than 73 percent of providers indicated that they were likely to use live chat again.

Included among the comments UPMC Health Plan received from members on the live chat feature were:

  • "The live chat was fantastic. It was very fast, and I like that you can print the entire chat session at the end if needed."
  • "I am hearing impaired and this method is so much better for me."
  • "I find this feature very helpful. It is the first time I have used online chat and I will surely use it again."
  • "Quick and convenient, thanks!"

Included among the comments UPMC Health Plan received from providers on the live chat feature were:

  • "I think the 'Chat' feature is fantastic! It allows me to multi-task at my job instead of having to wait on hold. The representatives are always courteous and very helpful."
  • "This is a great asset to my job to be able to chat and have a printed record after the fact."

"At a time when many companies are looking for ways to cut corners and reduce the cost of customer service, UPMC Health Plan continues to invest in ways to provide new and more helpful tools for its members and providers," said Ms. Jenkins.

About UPMC Health Plan

UPMC Health Plan, the second-largest health insurer in western Pennsylvania, is owned by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), one of the nation's top-ranked health systems. The integrated partner companies of the UPMC Insurance Services Division – which includes UPMC Health Plan, UPMC Work Partners, LifeSolutions (EAP), UPMC for You (Medical Assistance), and Community Care Behavioral Health – offer a full range of group health insurance, Medicare, Special Needs Plan, CHIP, Medical Assistance, behavioral health, employee assistance, and workers' compensation products and services to nearly 1.4 million members. Our local provider network includes UPMC as well as community providers, totaling more than 100 hospitals and more than 11,500 physicians in a 47-county region. For more information, visit www.upmchealthplan.com.

SOURCE UPMC Health Plan

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