When you think of an employee using a smartphone, the first image that comes to mind is probably a white-collar worker dressed in a suit. If you search “Person using a smartphone at a company” in Google Images that’s all you’ll find. But the stereotype that blue collar workers don’t use technology is far from reality.

HealthJoy initially serviced the individual space, helping people who had purchased an ACA insurance plan. We signed up over 20,000 members in our first year, and the majority were blue collar and lower-income individuals eligible for subsidies. We conducted much of our user testing with this audience when developing our app. Our decision to move to a chat-based interface came in part from working with a blue-collar audience. All our metrics demonstrated a huge uptick when we  moved to putting the smartphone at the center of our strategy. We still offer phone support, but usage has declined as we’ve improved our mobile offering.

Below we’ll address some of the common questions we receive regarding blue-collar workers and healthcare.

Smartphone Adoption in the United States

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly nine in ten Americans are online today, up from about 50% in the early 2000’s. Almost 77% of all Americans now own a smartphone. Lower-income individuals and those over 50 years showed the largest jump in 2016. High school graduate ownership grew to 69%, almost matching average smartphone ownership. Desktop/Laptop usage, at 78%, also neared smartphone ownership.

What about more physical jobs? Are people still using smartphones?

Some industries have been slower to adopt technology, but that’s starting to change. A survey conducted by Texas A&M in 2015 showed 72% of construction professionals use smartphones at work and 80% use them for bidding or managing their construction projects. The idea that blue-collar workers aren’t using smartphones is wrong. Even in the worst cases, smartphone adoption is within 8% of the average.

I know some of my employees don’t have smartphones, what about in those cases?

HealthJoy has a utilization rate and ROI that’s 8-10X higher than other solutions even taking this subset into consideration. For employees that don’t have a smartphone, we provide a landline option that’s available to all members. We can provide onsite posters, paycheck inserts, flyers, presentation videos, powerpoint decks, registration drives and an optional mailed welcome kit for members (talk to your broker.) Our account managers will work with you to make sure our rollout is a success.

How can HealthJoy help a blue-collar workforce?

In 2017, manufacturers are increasingly introducing High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs), HSA’s, reference-based pricing plans and more to reduce rising healthcare costs. While these tactics lower the cost to the companies, they shift cost to employees that can’t afford the extra burden. These tactics also do little to address the main problem: the number and size of claims. As Chapin Collins from Sterling Thompson Company says “The only way to address the increasing health insurance premiums is to control the underlying claims costs which are driving the premiums.  Technology is likely the most valuable resource available to address and control medical claims costs.”

A survey by PolicyGenius found that just 4 percent of Americans are able to correctly define four terms that determine how much they have to pay for medical service. Whether white collar or blue collar, employees need guidance in healthcare. JOY and our concierge team are here to help.


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