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February 7th, 2020

How Citizen Identity Can Heal Program Integrity and Experience at Federal Agencies

Medicare and Medicaid account for 23.5% of Federal spending. Expect that to increase as more citizens become eligible for these programs.

As enrollment numbers grow, so do expectations: for delivering a positive citizen experience (CX); for providing eligible beneficiaries quality and efficient services; and for minimizing fraud, waste, and abuse. Citizen identity sits as the nexus of these mandates.

Federal agencies that verify beneficiaries’ identities quickly, over any channel, are better positioned to uphold program integrity and deliver a positive citizen experience.

Read: Federal Contact Centers: Achieve a Positive Citizen Experience, Agency Operational Efficiency, and Fraud Mitigation

Citizen identity underpins program integrity and citizen experience

Before a Federal agency can serve a citizen, it must determine whom it’s serving. This simple premise has become more difficult as new channels of interaction have appeared.

To a citizen there’s only one Social Security Administration, one Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and one Veteran Affairs. Not so for agencies, with their complex internal systems. It’s much more difficult to determine that a citizen calling for services is the same individual who completed a form in an online account yesterday and visited an office in person last week.

The ambiguity jeopardizes the agency’s mission and program integrity. Fraud, waste, and abuse are all risks due to vulnerabilities in the standard methods of identity verification.

Citizens feel this struggle on a personal level. They’ve become accustomed to a superior experience in the private sector, which has made substantial investments in personalizing engagements across channels. By comparison, citizens find experiences with government lacking.

Fortunately for Federal agencies, technology already tested and trusted by the private sector can alleviate these challenges.

Citizen-centric identity resolution

Identity resolution underpins the ability to recognize citizens as they move between online and offline channels, and interact via different identifiers. Identity encompasses offline attributes—name, address, phone numbers, and email addresses—plus online activity signals, such as cookies and mobile ad IDs. Identity resolution connects the dots across these identifiers to produce a current, persistent, and Federally compliant view of each citizen.

Recognizing the same citizen across channels allows for the customization of the beginning of each interaction. For example, when a citizen interacts with an agency’s self-service kiosk, that kiosk could acknowledge recent activity on the citizen’s online account, or the latest call with a contact center, and offer relevant options.

While identifying the citizen, this approach naturally checks for risk signals: for example, a device’s IP address that’s hundreds of miles from the home address on record, or a calling device whose number has been reassigned just 10 minutes ago. These signals could be enough for the system to flag the request for more cautious treatment.

This approach improves operational efficiency and citizen experience. When online, high-trust citizens can be offered higher-value self-serve options. These citizens will have less reason to call in for help. However, those who need to call in will get faster, more efficient treatment. Their identities can be determined and authenticated with high confidence before they hear “Hello.” Once they hear the interactive voice response (IVR), they go straight to service. And, like the online experience, callers can be offered higher-value self-service options than have been afforded in the past. If they choose to speak with a customer service representative (CSR), that person can begin service immediately, because, again, the citizen’s identity has already been verified.

How Neustar can help

Neustar has a recognized track record for helping Federal agencies improve citizen experience and program integrity.

Online, Neustar mitigates risk of fraud, waste, and abuse by separating legitimate users from suspicious ones. Using a host of digital elements—including IP, browsing, phone activity, and connections between digital footprints and people or households—Neustar corroborates each user’s digital information against authoritative offline citizen data. Citizens get better service faster. Suspicious users get closer scrutiny in alternative workflows.

On inbound calls, Neustar improves an agency’s ability to manage high volumes of citizen interactions efficiently. Our solutions identify callers—even those calling from a number different than the one on file—and determine prior to connection whether each caller's device presents risk. Trusted callers get faster service. Less-trusted callers get route to forewarned personnel.

Our outbound dialing solutions increase the efficiency and efficacy of citizen outreach, prevent spoofing and account takeover while reducing regulatory and reputation risks, and improve the chance that agencies’ calls will be answered.

We’ll be at HIMSS March 9-13 (booth #632). Bring your questions about this post. We’d love to discuss them with you.

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