Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina introduced its first iPhone application Monday, giving customers the ability to find urgent care centers, compare drug costs or contact customer service from their smartphones.
Company officials said the free app is available for download by customers with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
The app could prevent a family from going to an emergency room and waiting two hours, only to realize they could have gone to a nearby urgent care center and paid less, said John Roos, a senior vice president.
"Obviously there's been a huge uptick in the use of mobile devices that make everyone's lives easier," he said, adding that the company wants to deliver information on the platforms people find most useful.
Chapel Hill-based Blue Cross is North Carolina's largest health insurer, with more than 3.7 million members.
The app will help users compare average drug costs and look for cheaper alternatives. It gives one-click access to dial a customer service representative and allows for storage of notes about personal and family health.
Other insurers offer iPhone apps. Aetna has one thatallows users to view an image of their membership card, look up claims, check drug prices or view personal health records. United HealthCare has an app that uses your phone's GPS to search for doctors within a specific mile radius of your location.