Access Health CT’s mobile app rolling out

This is a picture of A sample page from the Access Health CT mobile app.

A sample page from the Access Health CT mobile app.

Access Health CT’s mobile application is available for iPhone users and will be rolling out soon for Androids and iPads, officials at Connecticut's health insurance exchange said Thursday.

Access Health officials say the free mobile app will make it easier for people to shop for health care coverage using smart phones or tablets. Officials hope it will appeal to young people -- a coveted customer pool -- and to people who have smart phones but don’t have regular access to a computer.

The app allows people to shop anonymously, create accounts and view health plan options. People will also be able to upload documents through the app by taking pictures of the documents with their device’s camera.

The full application process can't be completed on the app. Feedback from customers indicated that people most wanted the ability to shop anonymously and upload verification documents, Access Health’s Chief Information Officer James Wadleigh said.

The app is currently available from Apple’s iTunes store and is expected to be available Friday from the Android marketplace. An iPad version is scheduled to roll out June 16, and a version for Android tablets is expected to be available June 23.

Wadleigh said a Spanish-language version is in the early phase of development.

Without publicity, the app had been downloaded 120 times as of Thursday, and more than 400 documents had been uploaded using it, Wadleigh said.

During the open enrollment period for this year’s coverage, more than 20 percent of customers signed up on smartphones or tablets, using the regular Access Health website. About 25 percent of enrollments that came in after 7 p.m. were through smart phones or tablets, CEO Kevin Counihan said.

The app will be available free to users, but exchange officials are considering selling the software to other states as a way to generate revenue. Access Health has also offered its exchange system software to other states, but doesn't charge them because the code was developed using federal funds. The exchange used non-federal funds for the app, which was developed by Amtech Systems, a New York company.

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About Arielle Levin Becker

Arielle Levin Becker was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on home caretakers from the National Association of Health Journalists. Arielle previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter. She also has covered education and municipal beats for The Courant and for the Home News Tribune of East Brunswick, N.J. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University. E-mail her at alevinbecker@ctmirror.org.

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