ID.me digital identity supports gas discount program for healthcare workers and first responders

identity document and smartphone

U.S. gas stations BP and Amoco have launched an initiative supported by digital identity from ID.me to provide 50 cents off per gallon on gas purchases to healthcare workers and first responders working during the coronavirus outbreak.

The program already had 100,000 users over the weekend, and the numbers are increasing daily, ID.me CEO Blake Hall told Biometric Update in an interview. With its mature digital identity ecosystem already providing identity verification for roughly 10 percent of America’s doctors, and compliance with electronic prescription of controlled substances (EPCS) regulations, ID.me is uniquely positioned to provide authentication for companies looking to support healthcare providers, he says.

Regulations at the state and federal level have increasingly made EPCS standards a de facto national identity for doctors already, according to Hall, particularly with new Medicare Part D requirements. Hall compares the standard to the state driver’s license, which is used as a de facto national ID, because it is the credential with the strongest assurance.

“That’s what this DEA-controlled electronic prescriptions for controlled substances policy is, it’s the digital equivalent of a DMV visit for a healthcare provider,” he explains.

The company works with electronic healthcare records providers, providing identity verification with EPCS-compliant and NIST 800:63 Level 3-certified security. ID.me considered how to do its part in the current crisis, the company saw it was already able to offer on-the-fly ID verification and proofing, configured to a level appropriate to the use case, according to Hall.

At that point, the company received an email from BP, which had become aware of an Under Armour discount program for military and first responders with eligibility verification by ID.me.

New users sign up for ID.me by going through its identity verification process, and existing ID.me users can add their proof of eligibility to their ID.me wallet. Even easier, for doctors already registered with ID.me, their identity and status are already known.

“In that case when signing in they just go straight to a consent screen that says, you know, ‘BP wants to know you, your email, and that you’re a doctor, is that ok?’ Yep, and then they’re through.”
BP is also providing free coffee and other benefits for qualified workers on the front lines of the struggle against the pandemic.

In addition to providing the right level of assurance without adding friction to the process is the general role of ID.me, Hall believes the company’s user base gives it a significant advantage.

“I think that part of our appeal is that out of an eligible population, we might have already previously verified a significant proportion,” Hall says. “For a major technology company that we support with discounts, eighty-two percent of all the military consumers going through that program were already verified by ID.me before they came to the site, so our network is really mature at this point, and it’s exciting to be able to leverage it to give back during this COVID-19 crisis.”

The Slack channel for doctors to share information and best practices relating to the COVID-19 pandemic that ID.me launched two weeks ago had more than 2,500 sign-ups in its first week as well. Hall notes that that initiative was launched in response to an L.A. emergency room doctor’s story of being exposed to patients who tested positive for COVID-19 without wearing the proper protective equipment, because they had presented with different symptoms than had been seen in the area to that point.

Hall’s interest in supporting healthcare providers with easier processes stems, at least in part, from observing the frustrating experiences associated with fraud and identity verification his wife, an ENT doctor, has gone through. He points out that the opioid crisis created necessity for portable digital credential for healthcare.

From that perspective, there is a sense in which the COVID-19 crisis is a big step along that same path.

“This moment is really about an acceleration of a trend towards digital transactions and away from physical transactions, and we’re uniquely positioned to make sure that the broader public has a great experience with digital identity as that happens,” Hall says. “I think that the tone and the way that we approach this industry is really going to set the digital industry’s brand positioning for a long time to come.”

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