When a robot from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield (HBCBS) left my wife a message Monday, I was provoked first by the cheerful, familiar voice inflection in the greeting:


It’s the second call from the health insurance company in a week, so perhaps a familiar tone is warranted. The virtual caller quickly defuses any suspicion that this is a sales call or something about a denied claim — it’s just friendly, informational outreach: “There are a few things we can share to make sure we’re doing our best for you,” she says. “They’re already a part of your benefits.”

Great, all we have to do is call the 800-number to learn more. But realizing that we’re about as likely to do that as we are to click on a banner ad to learn more about refinancing our mortgage, the caller cleverly includes some of her educational message within the voicemail itself:


“Try looking for unexpected ways to feel you best”? “When you’re tired, peel fresh oranges or lemons” and inhale the “zest”? “Seek out new ways to feel good about yourself”?

HBCBS is calling to help us improve our health in ways the company doesn’t have to pay for beyond the cost of the phone call itself. I guess on some level I appreciate the effort: We can all stand to be a bit more proactive about our health. And I have to admit, their on emphasis on “unexpected” health tips is if nothing else sticky: I can’t stop thinking about peeling citrus. But then, do we really want an interested third-party with access to our medical records calling us to offer such advice?

Either way, they should really do something about that most perfunctory-sounding goodbye.