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UnitedHealth: Insurers should fit into consumers' lives


If insurers want to be successful in a consumer-oriented market, they should make their business fit into their consumers' lives rather than forcing consumers to adjust and accommodate the insurance business, Tom Paul (pictured), chief consumer officer at UnitedHealth, told FierceHealthPayer in part one of a two-part interview based on his presentation at the AHIP Institute in Las Vegas last week.

UnitedHealth has focused on the consumer and the role the consumer plays within healthcare for a long time, and its overall business plan recognizes the "very important relationship" among the consumer, the care provider and the payer. That relationship, Paul said, is driving its overall strategy toward greater health outcomes and affordability.

UnitedHealth has established a "very deliberate approach" of making sure it's "an outside-in organization," ensuring that through its product development and service delivery, the nation's largest insurer is "fitting into the life of the consumer, not making them fit into us," Paul said.  

That's why UnitedHealth is organizing its strength and energy around three key elements that consumers want--simplicity, personalization and care--from their insurance company.

UnitedHealth's own research has determined consumers find the health insurance industry to be complex and complicated, and they want their insurance instead to be simple. "When we say simplify, we mean make [insurance] easy so that members can focus on their health and not the health insurance," Paul explained. "And be really transparent about it, to help them understand what it is they're going through, what they need to do, how to make the right decisions."