Healthy growth, happy customers

Community Health Options, a start-up healthcare insurance provider, grew from zero to 82,000 members in 18 months. To accommodate that exponential growth and deliver superior customer care, the organization needed a flexible, scalable IT infrastructure. After reviewing several options, the provider selected Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) from Windstream Enterprise.

Industry: Healthcare insurance
Customer: 170 employees, 82,000 members, operates in Maine and New Hampshire
Challenges: Accommodate rapid growth as a start-up, lack of IT infrastructure, scale call center to meet seasonal demands
Solutions: Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)
Results: Easy, rapid scalability; flexible call trees, messages and call routing; cost savings and increased efficiencies

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Putting care ahead of profit

Community Health Options is a new kind of healthcare insurance company—a nonprofit, member-driven “Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan” (CO-OP) that provides comprehensive health insurance benefits to individuals, families and businesses. Operating in Maine and New Hampshire, Community Health Options provides affordable, high-quality health benefits to their 82,000 members.

Speed matters

Many businesses enjoy the luxury of slowly and methodically building a customer base over time, ensuring that the internal systems and processes can accommodate the sustained growth. Community Health Options isn’t one of those businesses.

Community Health Options is a start-up healthcare insurance provider that competes with the giants of the industry, including Kaiser, UnitedHealth and Humana. Going from zero to 82,000 members in 18 short months meant that the organization had no IT infrastructure and had to build their systems from the ground up—quickly. In short, the challenge for Community Health Options was to implement an IT infrastructure that could be as flexible and scalable as Community Health Options itself.

Adding to the IT infrastructure challenge, healthcare insurance is a seasonal business—open enrollment (the period where everyone selects their insurance plan) runs from fall to early winter. Having the ability to scale up for periods of peak customer interaction is important, as is the ability to instantly change call trees, messages and call routing to react to customer behavior.

“We have more control than ever to instantly customize our service, and it has made us more responsive than we could be otherwise.”

Will Kilbreth, CIO, Community Health Options

Built to scale

Community Health Options explored a number of different options and providers as they sought to build the communications and network system that could help them compete. After reviewing several options, the organization selected Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) from Windstream Enterprise because their cloud-based architecture could give Community Health Options the flexibility to scale up and down to meet their business needs more effectively.

Additionally, CCaaS gave Community Health Options the reliable connectivity they needed with the ability to quickly and easily manage their allocation of contact center agents and queues to offer the best customer service possible.

“We appreciate that we can use administrative tools to easily change call tree routing,” said Will Kilbreth, the CIO of Community Health Options. “If we see we’re getting a spike in a specific type of call, we can automatically reconfigure specific agents into that queue to add support and reduce wait times. Or, if we have a new issue that we haven’t experienced before, we can set up an entirely new tree route instantly.”

Communications with a competitive edge

Today, the organization is operating more efficiently and effectively as a result of their decision to implement the Windstream Enterprise CCaaS solution. Community Health Options successfully competes against some of the largest health insurance providers in the country and has grown to 170 full-time employees (including 70 call center agents and 10 dedicated IT employees).

Additionally, Community Health Options expects to see cost savings from their decision to select Windstream Enterprise, and they have already seen efficiency benefits from freeing their IT staff up to handle more strategic business issues.

As Kilbreth said, “We made the right choice to partner with Windstream Enterprise because it allowed us to turn our communications infrastructure into a competitive advantage.

We have more control than ever to instantly customize our service, and it has made us more responsive than we could be otherwise. Community Health Options has a start-up mentality that values Hardware as a Service. We want to handle the administration, but we’ll leave the hardware issues to Windstream Enterprise.”

About the Author

Windstream Enterprise

Windstream Enterprise believes people should expect more from their service provider. Our mission: as network, security and application performance become continuously more critical, WE will be the partner that responds to unique customer needs—a pathfinder to help lead them through technology transformation. A trusted advisor to help them connect, transform and elevate their businesses.

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