Report: Exchanges will transform the health insurance business
As companies try to lower their health-related costs, they're moving away from providing benefits directly to their employees and instead pushing them to be more responsible for their own health insurance. That trend will fuel more growth in health insurance exchanges over the next 10 years, dramatically changing the health insurance business, according to a new report from PwC's Health Research Institute.
Both public and private exchanges are poised to grow, though PwC predicted that the private marketplaces will expand slower than public ones.
Such an evolution in the health insurance business means that payers should start making changes now. "The push to retail means more transparency on pricing, products and services," Kelly Barnes, PwC's U.S. Health Industries leader said in a statement. "In today's new health economy, healthcare companies will need to find innovative ways to demonstrate value and quality to their customers."
With this new industry quickly approaching, PwC said insurers should:
- Consider selling plans on private exchanges. Although some large, national insurers already participate with private exchanges, the private marketplaces want strong regional insurers also selling plans on their marketplaces. Insurers also should determine whether it's worthwhile to create their own private exchange or partner with others, as FierceHealthPayer previously reported.
- Distinguish your brand. As exchanges become more popular and competition increases, insurers need to separate from the pack and vie for consumers outside of price. Insurers should consider marketing to a broad, general audience like Cigna just announced and reaching out specifically to employees through on-site representatives and marketing materials.
- Develop/enhance transparency and outreach tools. Consumers increasingly are choosing low-premium and high-deductible plans, so insurers should provide tools to boost their understanding of the products, including expense tracking, price transparency options like the robust tools available from UnitedHealth, as well as medication and screening reminders.
To learn more:
- here's the PwC statement and report
UnitedHealth puts robust price transparency tools in consumers' hands
Price transparency: a win-win for insurers and consumers
Cigna rebrands to emphasize community, expand reach in international markets
Good news for payers in a consumer-focused industry
Insurers: Don't ignore the lack of health literacy