Jun 11, 2018

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Launches “MI Blue” Skill for Amazon Alexa

Amazon Echo device
Wellness information, one-minute meditations, general information about health insurance, healthy recipes and more are now available for free to all Michigan residents with an Alexa-enabled device thanks to the new “MI Blue” skill from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Pronounced “my blue,” the skill allows users to obtain comprehensive, interactive health care and wellness information within minutes using voice commands through an Alexa-enabled device.
“We are always seeking ways to connect people in Michigan with better health,” said Daniel J. Loepp, Blue Cross president and CEO. “We worked with Amazon to give people everywhere in Michigan the chance to leverage Amazon’s voice service to live healthier and connect with reliable information from Blue Cross.”
“The MI Blue skill for Amazon Alexa is designed to be easy, insightful and fun. Anyone using the skill can now get quick and reliable wellness tips, answers to health-related questions, the latest health news, and even fun things to do at home with their kids while interacting with their Alexa-enabled devices,” said Andrew Hetzel, vice president of Corporate Communications at Blue Cross.
According to an independent 2016 study, just four percent of Americans could accurately define four of the most common health care terms – deductible, co-pay, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum. The MI Blue skill responds to voice commands through an Alexa-enabled device to provide people with:
  • Health-related news from Blue Cross
  • Explanations of common health insurance terms
  • Answers to frequently asked health questions
  • Dietitian-approved recipes
  • Healthy activities for the family
  • Smoking cessation tips
“Nine years ago, Blue Cross launched its first social media content,” Hetzel said. “Today, our social media subscribership stands at more than 500,000. Voice technology is the next frontier in helping brands connect helpful content with people’s everyday lives. We designed the MI Blue skill for Amazon Alexa to help people better manage their everyday lives, by providing useful information that is easy and fun to access using an Alexa-enabled device.”
From explaining the difference between an HMO and a PPO to providing exercise tips and healthy recipes for the family, the MI Blue skill is an information hub for wellness. Blue Cross’ development team is already hard at work on the next versions of content for the MI Blue skill, which will be introduced later this summer.
“Like our blogs and new mobile app, the MI Blue skill is yet another step forward in Blue Cross’ effort to create more interactive relationships with our members and communities,” Hetzel said.
How to Use the MI Blue Skill for Amazon Alexa
Enabling the MI Blue skill for Alexa-enabled devices is fast and easy. Users can enable the skill via the Amazon Skills Store on Amazon.com or through the free mobile Amazon Alexa app on both Android and iOS. If using the Amazon Alexa app, just open the app and select “Skills” in the upper left corner. From there, search for “MI Blue” and enable the skill for easy access to a library of health insurance and wellness information. Once enabled, future uses require only the simple voice command, “Alexa, open MI Blue,” followed by a health-related question.
Personal health coverage and medical information for Blue Cross members is not available through the skill, but can be found at www.bcbsm.com or on the BCBSM mobile app.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.6 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MIBluesPerspectives.com.

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