In January 2013, ShapeUp introduced a middle market product servicing clients in the 100-5,000 employee range. Since then, we have been intrigued about the evolving market place for brokers, consultants, insurers, wellness companies and employers in this unprecedented time of change. We will be sharing the latest news, notes and observations with you each month to keep you abreast of important developments and maintain an open dialog on the trends in wellness. We just spent several days in chilly Chicago at the 2013 AHIP Operations and Technology Forum and we figured there would be no better time than now to start sharing industry insights as we see them. If you have feedback or ideas, please feel free to share your thoughts with us.
As you would imagine from the topic of the conference, the presentations and discussions focused on multi-modal communication, data integration, incentives and other technology driven aspects of the payer space. But the underlying theme was crystal clear as it came up in every talk we attended–consumerism. Empowering the consumer and the HR buyer was evident in many panels. Here are some of our most relevant insights…
- There seems to be trend toward calling private exchanges “marketplaces” to differentiate them from the much maligned public exchanges.
- Private exchanges are all the rage and there was a great deal of discussion around the best way to execute wellness within an exchange. We are exploring opportunities with several exchanges to make population health and wellness decisions easy for companies in much the same way that exchanges are promising to make health insurance decisions more transparent for employees.
- Most thought leaders we met with believed that wellness programs inside of exchanges will be “Participation-Based” as opposed to “Health-Contingent” to continue to make execution as easy as possible for companies and administrators.
- Online benefits marketplaces will eventually become the Amazon of benefits for employers and their employees to compare and purchase at the company and individual level respectively
Some Predictions from the Experts & Speakers at AHIP…
- Thomas Goetz, Author of The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your health in the New Era of Personalized Medicine – was very compelling in his arguments and gave a superb presentation.
- Reducing friction even a little for the consumer will be key. Making insurance transactions as quick and easy for individuals will create immense value in an industry that is full of friction.
- While there are a multitude of new apps, platforms and services – none of these are getting it right yet. But that is OK, because they are shifting the way we approach the problem, so the next wave of consolidated apps, platforms and services will be that much better and consumers will be ready to use them.
- Charles E. Saunders, MD, CEO, Healthagen – Aetna subsidiary
- There are several factors critical to consumerism of healthcare will be; mobile, social, gaming, transparency and simplicity
- Disease management models provided from a call center are dying – in the future personal care and health management will be delivered by the provider and the people that regularly engage with the member.
- Steven Brill, Author of Time Magazine’s, March 4, 2013 Special Report “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us”, was straight forward and brutally honest in his challenge to healthcare providers to make their medical billings more transparent and realistic.
- I don’t see how increased competition in insurance will reduce cost. You will have members distributed across more plans and each plan has less leverage with the hospital systems, especially as they are getting bigger.
- A panelist on the “Practical Strategies and Proven Practices for Consumer Engagement” session made a great point as health plans consider consumer marketing and retail promotions:
- Regional insurers have a different opportunity than national insurers to engage consumers in the community. They likely have a longer history and better community relationships already established. They are the home team in this industry.
About Author: Justin Reid is the General Manager of ShapeUp’s Middle Market business which provides services to employers in the 100-5,000 employee range. Prior to joining ShapeUp, Justin was a strategy consultant and investment banker working with clients in the healthcare, hospitality and retail industries. Justin graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a BS in electrical engineering and holds an MBA from Yale University. He is committed to physical fitness and has competed in at least one triathlon every year since getting introduced to the sport in 2004. Justin enjoys living in the great New England city of Providence, RI with his wife and 2 children.