With nearly 55% of U.S. households projected to have a smart speaker by 20221 , finding answers about your health insurance may be as simple as asking Alexa.
As the first global health service company to offer a smart speaker "skill" to simplify health benefits information, Cigna has addressed the changing way people use technology to access health information. The new hands-free "Answers by Cigna" skill is designed to demystify language about health care by providing instant and easy-to-understand answers to more than 150 commonly asked health care questions.
If you find the vocabulary of health care unfamiliar, you're not alone. A 2017 survey on health literacy found that 20 percent of respondents did not understand the word "premium" 2 and 66 percent did not understand the word "formulary." 2
By developing this voice-controlled skill, Cigna aims to close the knowledge gap about critical information needed to both understand and access health care. People unfamiliar with the terms used in their health plan are less likely to take full advantage of their benefits2, and "Answers by Cigna" is one step closer to making customers well-informed stewards of their health care.
Americans are increasingly turning to digital voice assistants to engage with the broader world in everything from checking the weather to ordering pizza. Forty-six percent of U.S. adults report using a digital voice assistant3, a trend likely to increase as more enabled devices enter our homes and workplaces. As Stephen Cassell, Cigna's Vice President for Branding sees it, this is a tremendous opportunity to deliver useful content in a hands-free environment which fits seamlessly into our daily routine.
Most of all, voice control allows Cigna to educate and engage in a way convenient for the user. With applications for voice control expanding every day, there's great opportunity to further personalize an individual's health care journey.
Want to ask a question about your health? The "Answers by Cigna" skill for Alexa is available to everyone in the Amazon Alexa Skills Store or by saying, "Alexa, enable Answers by Cigna." To use the "Answers by Cigna" skill, users can simply ask their health-related questions, like "what's a formulary?" and receive an easy-to-understand response.
1 Amazon Echo & Google Home to Reside in Over 50% of US Households by 2022, As Multi-Assistant Devices Take Off, Juniper Research, November 2017, Amazon Echo & Google Home To Reside In Over 50% Of Us Households By 2022, As Multi-Assistant Devices Take Off
2 Measuring Health Insurance Literacy in Connecticut, Connecticut Health Foundation and the UConn Health Disparities Institute, April 2017, Measuring Health Insurance Literacy In Connecticut
3 More Americans Turn to Technology to Help Evaluate and Access Health Care; Health Literacy Remains a Challenge for Some Consumers, United Healthcare, October 2017, More Americans Turn to Technology to Help Evaluate and Access Health Care; Health Literacy Remains a Challenge for Some Consumers