New Mobile App Promotes Savings at Blue Cross

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has teamed up with Ann Arbor-based Larky, a web and mobile service, to offer social tools that better promote the benefits of Healthy Blue Xtras, a savings program exclusive to BCBSM members.

“Larky provides a new way for people to become aware of the discounts that are available to them,” says Kathryn Levine, vice president of corporate marketing for Blue Cross. “We didn’t create these discounts just because. We want people to use them.”

Members who sign up for the free service can view, search, and browse their discounts on the Larky website or on a mobile app, allowing them to get every discount they deserve. GPS technology enables users to receive alerts on their smartphone when they are physically near a discount opportunity.

“You don’t have to go to our website to view the offers,” says Levine. “If you walk or drive near one of our partners, it will pop up on your mobile web. It meets you where you are, and that’s where we’re trying to move our relationship with our members: to where they are.”

Since starting five weeks ago, the Larky-BCBSM partnership has signed up nearly 3,500 participants. According to Levine, more than 80 percent of those who opened the initial e-blast announcing the partnership signed up for the service.

BCBSM first launched Healthy Blue Xtras in January 2010 and currently partners with more than 90 organizations to offer member discounts, including Plum Market, Moosejaw Mountaineering, and Weight Watchers.

Larky’s application alerts are customizable, and allow members of other organizations and associations, such as AAA insurance, Costco, and the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), to keep track of all the benefits and perks of the membership.

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