Friday, October 20

UCLA Ashe Center expands features, services with OptumRx mobile app


The OptumRx mobile application, which issues students' pharmacy insurance card, has added new services this year, including easier search tools and  multiple credit card payment options. (Kathy Zhuo/Daily Bruin)

The OptumRx mobile application, which issues students' pharmacy insurance card, has added new services this year, including easier search tools and multiple credit card payment options. (Kathy Zhuo/Daily Bruin)


A health insurance mobile application for UCLA students expanded its medication and prescription features this year.

The University of California Student Health Insurance Plan expanded the services of one of its mobile apps, OptumRx, which it started using in 2015, said Barbara Rabinowitz, insurance manager for UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Wellness and Health Center. Students can access information about prescriptions covered by their plan and fill their prescriptions at UCLA’s pharmacy, she added.

OptumRx, which issues students’ pharmacy insurance card, has implemented new services, including easier search tools, ability to use multiple credit cards for payment, a feature to compare drug prices between retail locations and additional notification settings, said UC spokesperson Stephanie Beechem.

Students can also use the StudentHealth app to manage their UC SHIP coverage. Anthem Blue Cross, a health insurance provider for UC SHIP, stopped issuing ID cards at the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year, Rabinowitz said. Students can instead download StudentHealth to access their medical and vision insurance cards.

Rabinowitz said the app also allows students to look up an explanation of their UC SHIP coverage and find a UC SHIP provider. She added this feature is useful for students who are traveling because they can use the app at other urgent care centers.

UC SHIP decided to introduce the StudentHealth app because Student Advisory Committees at UC campuses said students wanted a mobile app to access their health data instead of using ID cards, Rabinowitz said.

Rabinowitz added the app has been cost effective because Anthem Blue Cross used to mail students their ID cards, but 70 percent of cards, which cost $3 per card to mail, did not successfully reach students.

Although Ashe Center requires that students have the app for identification reasons, students may still request to get a physical card from Anthem Blue Cross, Rabinowitz added.

Some students who have used the mobile app said they think it has been helpful but can be inconvenient.

Anna Szymanska, a second-year human biology and society student, said she could not use the app away from UCLA when she downloaded it last year.

“When I went to get vaccinations in other states, I could not use the app or my UC SHIP coverage,” she said. “I don’t have any way to pay for anything and I don’t have any other insurance.”

Brenna Fekete, a third-year psychobiology student said she likes the app because it centralizes her health insurance information.

“It’s really convenient going into appointments and checking in with the app,” she said. “But sometimes, it’s annoying when the internet isn’t working and I’m trying to check in Ashe, which has happened to me several times.”

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