I'm sorry to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, but I've been thinking about corporate social networking profiles recently, and I see a huge opportunity to fix one of the major complaints with the health insurance industry.
First, a disclaimer: I'm a 24 year old programmer. I'm supposed to understand Twitter. For the most part, I don't. I'm just as confused by it as you probably are because I don't get why anyone cares about all those inane little thoughts that make up 99% of the "tweets". That said, there are a few uses that could be real game-changers. I'm suggesting that you use Twitter for the real uses, but not necessarily to let the world know what you had for lunch.
A lot of companies are getting into social networking by creating corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts. A lot of these are just marketing tools, but a few companies handle some customer support through Twitter. Comcast in particular is a company with a terrible customer service track record, but for some reason I hear nothing but good things about the service people receive when they send requests to Comcast via Twitter.
Why would the company be more responsive through social networks than over the phone? The simple answer is that the entire world can see what happens on Twitter. If a customer has a problem and it isn't resolved quickly, millions of people could know about it almost immediately. Companies can't afford anything other than great service when they know that there's absolute transparency. If you call Comcast on the phone, the worst that can happen is that they lose you as a customer.
Now let's apply this to health insurance. Everyone has heard the horror stories about people with good insurance being denied coverage because the insurance companies have to watch their profit margins. And the common complain goes something like this: "They're a huge corporation and I'm just one person. They don't have to listen to me"
It's true that it's hard to get them to listen, but it might be a little easier if you aired your issues in front of the entire online world. If you as a question to a company on Twitter, they can't sweep you under the rug quite as easily because a public record of the entire conversation will be made public.
This is a completely unproven theory on my part. It's possible that insurance companies will continue doing exactly what they're doing now, but the next time you have a dispute with your carrier and you can't get them to listen, try taking it online. Something tells me the company will take the issue a little more seriously.
There are way too many insurance carriers to post links to all of there Twitter accounts, but here is United Healthcare and a few Blue Cross Blue Shields in different states. You can generally find your carrier's account by Googling "Twitter COMPANY_NAME". To ask them a question on Twitter, just type "@" followed by their username (i.e. "@uhcfeds") and then type your message. Assuming they have someone monitoring their twitter account, they should see the message and respond.