Windstream’s Contact Center as a Service Helps Start-up Healthcare Insurance Provider Compete with Giants

“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

Industry Focus: Healthcare Insurance Provider

Location: Maine & New Hampshire

Windstream Solution(s):  Contact Center as a Solution (CCaaS)

Web Site:

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.

The Challenge

Creating a virtual call center environment that can scale to 82,000 customers almost overnight

In order to run their business efficiently, Ace Industries requires reliable connectivity between their 20 office locations and four home offices. In addition to their sales force of 20+ mobile computing users connected via Windstream managed SSL VPNs on HP laptops, Ace’s business requires 150+ technicians be connected in the field to manage work orders and communicate on the go.

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, for example. 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 upquickly. 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.

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.

The Solution

Windstream’s Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution meets the challenge

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 Windstream’s Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution 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.”

The Result

Windstream’s technology has become a competitive weapon for Community Health Options

Today, Community Health Options is operating more efficiently and effectively as a result of their decision to implement Windstream’s CCaaS solution. The organization 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, 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 because it allowed us to turn our communications infrastructure into a competitive weapon. 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.”