With the launch of the Apple iPad 3 around the corner, health insurance agents now have a way to sign up seniors with coverage using the popular tablet. DRX, a developer of health care comparison tools, has unveiled a new iPad app that enables health care sales agents to streamline the Medicare enrollment process.
Consumers, brokers and call center agents use the Web-based comparison tools from DRX, which was founded in 1999 under the name DestinationRx.
The iPad Mobile Field Enrollment application allows in-field Medicare sales agents to enter data directly on the iPad and submit enrollment information electronically.
By entering enrollment online, the health care industry can avoid redundancies that often occur on paper submissions, according to DRX.
Part of DRX's PlanCompare suite of apps, the iPad tool allows agents to compare plans even when the tablet is disconnected from the Internet. DRX also offers DrugCompare apps to allow users to compare dose-specific prescription prices.
In addition, the enrollment app can spot input errors and missing information, as well as help eliminate processing delays by health plan carriers.
The app, which the company formally announced Feb. 8, allows agents to view metrics on enrollment activity. Users can view cost comparisons on premiums as well as out-of-pocket prescription and medical costs.
Using an iPad app to enroll patients can be less costly than paper-based enrollments, said Randy Herman, CEO of DRX.
"Large Medicare plan sponsors process hundreds of thousands of paper-based enrollments annually, at a cost that can exceed $100 per application," said Herman in a statement.
"DRX's iPad Mobile Field Enrollment application eliminates this costly hand processing, streamlines the sales process for agents and streamlines the enrollment process for plan sponsors," Herman explained. "Overall, this translates into significant cost savings and a better experience for consumers."
Agents from insurance marketing firm Senior Market Sales recently conducted a pilot test using the DRX app. The sales reps enrolled patients in plans from Coventry Health Care, a health insurance provider that provides managed care to individuals, government agencies and other insurance carriers.
The DRX iPad app allowed the Senior Market Sales agents to see 20 percent more clients each week and receive quicker payment of commissions, the insurance marketing firm reports.
During a recent insurance election period, the app was able to reduce application-processing time by a full day, according to DRX.
No incomplete applications were turned in during the pilot test involving Coventry health plans, Sam Halpern, director of Internet marketing for Senior Market Sales, noted in an email to eWEEK.
"Every enrollment was processed quickly and accuratelyno handwriting to decipher, no rekeying of data," said Halpern.
DRX will license iPad Mobile Field Enrollment to seven health plan carriers in 2012.
In addition to applying for insurance, iPad apps are being used to check in to doctors' offices. In August, electronic health record (EHR) vendor DrChrono launched OnPatient, an iPad app in which patients can enter their family history and insurance information as well as fill out Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy consent forms without waiting to speak to office staff.
Although 80 percent of physicians believe the Apple iPad has a future in health care, more software innovation is needed to make use of the tablet, according to a Jan. 31 Spyglass Consulting Group report.