15:31 PM

Can a Smartphone App Do for Health Care What It Did for Online Shopping? Horizon thinks so.


All of the information that you need to understand your health care is now accessible in the palm of your hand. And there’s much more to come.

Whether it’s shopping online, booking a ride share, reserving a seat at the movies or local restaurant, or even buying a car – the smart phone revolution seems to always produce new ways for people to tell you, “Yeah, there’s an app for that.”

Smart phone apps are popular because they make many things in life easier. When it comes to things that could use a good dose of easier, health care has to rank near the top.

Sure, there has been no shortage of electronic gadgets and apps on the market that help you monitor your health. Wearable devices track your heart rate, calories you burn, weight you drop or gain, and how long you sleep. And, if any of these indicators cause you worry, or your body tells you something isn’t right, you can reach for your smart phone, maybe look up your symptoms or call a doctor for an appointment.

You may need two hands to juggle as you use one tool to understand your health, and use another to do something about it. But what about that third hand you’ll need to understand how your health insurance coverage applies, how to find local, in-network doctors with available appointments or pay for the visit? Well, Horizon has an app for all that…and more.

According to Doug Blackwell, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer for Horizon BCBSNJ, with the company’s new Horizon Blue app, you won’t need multiple hands to handle your health. Instead, you’ll have a digital assistant that pulls together everything you’ll need to navigate all your health and care-related needs.

Over the last two years, Horizon has listened to our members tell us they want a better, more convenient health care experience.
With their input, we made key investments in our digital assets to give people a tool that will make navigating the health care system and maximizing the value they get from their health insurance benefits as easy as it is to book a ride or download a song.
Doug Blackwell

How the Horizon Blue App helps members right now

Smart phone users can download the free Horizon Blue app in the App Store or Google Play marketplace. Doing so gives members full, 24/7 mobile access to the same features available online at HorizonBlue.com.

So you can do the basics like:

  • Find an in-network doctor, specialist, hospital, lab or urgent care center
  • Find out what medical, hospital, dental, lab or vision services your plan covers
  • Check claims and EOBs (Explanations of Benefits)
  • Access your ID Card

But that just scratches the surface.

In 2018, Horizon took a quantum leap forward, incorporating technology that will make it possible for members to:

Chat with a nurse or have a video-appointment with a doctor

Get personal assistance from a care coordinator to schedule appointments

Chat with a service representative to get answers to coverage questions.


How the Horizon Blue App will be your Horizon electronic assistant

“Mobile technology is advancing quickly and Horizon is moving in lock step to deliver a more coordinated and intuitive set of tools that empower our members and enhance their health care experience,” added Horizon’s Blackwell.

As an example of what is to come, Blackwell offered this scenario:

  • Say you’re not feeling right.
  • The app will connect you with a doctor for a video consult.
  • Because it knows what your policy covers, it will know whether you have satisfied your deductible or have a co-pay and let you use one of the common mobile payment services to make your payment.
  • The doctor decides you need lab work, so the app finds the closest in-network lab with available appointments and if needed, connects to a ride sharing platform to download the address and book a ride.
  • You’ll be notified that your lab results are in and able to view them, along with the rest of your medical records, and, if needed, be re-connected for a follow-up in-person or video visit with the doctor.
  • Now the doctors want you to visit a specialist based in a hospital. The app will help you schedule that appointment and book a ride and let you fill out any paperwork in advance. Once you arrive at the hospital for your visit, the app will give you real-time, turn-by-turn directions through the building to the office and make sure that doctor has your health records and history.
  • When that doctor writes a prescription, the Horizon Blue app will be integrated with the various retail pharmacy apps to notify you when it’s ready, remind you when to take your medicine and enable you to request a refill with a couple of swipes and taps.

“We’re literally envisioning everything a person might need in order to achieve their best health and pulling all of it together to deliver a seamless, one-stop user experience. When fully deployed, the Horizon Blue app will set the standard for what a health care app should do,” said Blackwell.

While the core functionality of Horizon Blue app is already there, Mr. Blackwell pointed out that some of what he described is in development and this scenario reflects a future state of the Horizon Blue app. Still, the app earns high marks for convenience and ease of use. There is no doubt that the company’s aggressive digital development plans will have users regularly checking for updates that unlock the latest features.

Looking for more convenience and greater coordination in health care? Yup, Horizon’s got an app for that!


To downlaod the app, simply text “GetApp” to 422-272, search for “HorizonBlue” in the Apple or Google app stores, or click the links below on your smartphone.