Healthcare Benefits Communications Channels Can Directly Influence Behavior and Program Effectiveness, According to Pitney Bowes Study

STAMFORD, Conn., April 06, 2010 - Sending communications on healthcare benefits through the mail is an important channel in engaging members as they make benefits decisions and as program managers seek to influence member behavior, according to a study on Healthcare Benefit Communications Preferences by Pitney Bowes Management Services, Inc. (PBMS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI).

The survey noted that, as healthcare benefit costs continue to escalate, both payers and benefits administrators look for ways to reduce the costs of managing benefits programs, such as communicating through email and secure web sites. Hard-copy mail however– not e-mail or secure web sites – is the preferred channel of communication for receiving healthcare benefit communications, including Explanation of Benefits (EOBs), Program Change Notifications, Enrollment/Decision Guides, and Welcome Kits, among others.

Andy Roussel, director, Strategic Marketing, PBMS commented that, to the extent existing communications vehicles can be used to influence member choice, then the ability of recipients to share them with family members has impact beyond the perceived savings of migrating to digital forms. He warns that, “As payers and program administrators consider using electronic forms of communications for influencing member behavior, a lack of portability may impact the effectiveness of this messaging.”

Roussel added that “this may be significant, as member choice in how they and their family use benefits may directly impact the cost of those benefits to both the member and the payer. Plan sponsor and administrator guidance on member choice needs to be in the form most easily used by recipients if it’s to be effective in guiding members on such issues as when to use a primary care physician or Urgent Care Center vs. an ER.”

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Pitney Bowes Management Services designs, implements and operates global solutions that provide enterprise clients with customer communication, mail and document lifecycle services that help in creating more effective, efficient and compliant business processes and operations.

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Celebrating its 90th year of innovation, Pitney Bowes provides software, hardware and services that integrate physical and digital communications channels. Long known for making its customers more productive, Pitney Bowes is increasingly helping other companies grow their business. Pitney Bowes is a $5.6 billion company and employs 33,000 worldwide. Pitney Bowes: Every connection is a new opportunity™.