Friday, June 8, 2012

Peace of Mind During Summer Travel? There’s an App for That!

Remember when people bought cell phones for peace of mind, “just in case?” In case the car breaks down. In case I get lost. In case I lock myself out of the house. It wasn’t that long ago. That’s why I first carried a mobile phone; it’s why we got cell phones for our children. But today? “Mobile” gave way to “Smart” – and “just in case” became a way of life.  Now, we don’t dare leave the house, let alone head out on vacation, without our smartphones!... I certainly wouldn’t.    

For most people, apps are a major resource for organization, communication and entertainment.  In addition, there is another huge value of mobile apps: keeping up with our own health and well-being. Recent research shows nearly 80 percent of U.S. consumers are interested in mobile health solutions, and 40 percent of physicians believe that mobile health technologies can reduce office visits. This is why many health insurers are offering apps that allow people to access their health care information, monitor existing health issues, and even stay focused on fitness goals.

Of course, we all hope for an incident-free vacation. But, we all know, kids get sick, Aunt Judy reacts to a bee sting or Dad sometimes gets a little too daring on the surf board. Mobile health apps make it easier to access your personal health information, and, if necessary:

  • Locate nearby physicians, hospitals, emergency rooms and urgent care centers using the smartphone’s GPS function.
  • Get immediate access to a registered nurse.
  • Download your insurance ID card to your smartphone and email or fax it directly to a physician office or hospital.
  • Request a callback on specific questions about claims and benefits.
  • View your account balances for available health reimbursement, flexible spending and health savings accounts to pay for medical care.

Other popular health apps can help people count calories and track exercise activity - okay, maybe not important if you want to disconnect on vacation.

At UnitedHealthcare, we fully embrace app technology, offering a variety of mobile apps designed to put consumers in charge of when and how they manage their health. And, we’re seeing the impact this can have on engaging people in healthy behaviors in ways that are as convenient as they are fun, and as educational as they are effective.  So, as you plan your summer travels, whether you plan to kick back or kick it into high gear, remember to pack your peace of mind, by ensuring you have your health and medical information wherever you go.

For more information on UnitedHealthcare’s app technology visit

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