Health insurers face a difficult dilemma today: Although customers are demanding higher levels of service that are more convenient to access, they are also increasingly sensitive to rising health care costs.Most health carriers are trying to balance these new demands against operational cuts designed to improve their bottom line-a seemingly impossible task.

Customer self-service is a new approach to this problem that can provide immediate relief. Insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Humana Inc., Independence Blue Cross and others are using customer self-service to effectively transform inefficient paper and call center processes by moving them online.

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