Health insurance for the consumer

Dec 30, 2016 | Healthcare Industry News

In recent years, the landscape of health care has changed dramatically. In addition to the Affordable Care Act, the evolution of technology has altered the way people purchase health care. Instead of simply signing up for health insurance through employers, individuals can enjoy a consumer marketplace and shop around for insurance plans that are more in tune with their specific needs. As a result, patients now expect completely customizable insurance plans. 

The passing of the ACA gave everyone access to health care, and as such, a large number of individuals in the U.S. are now required to purchase a plan. People can easily compare different health insurance policies using a variety of digital platforms. That said, patients aren't the only ones affected by the latest advances in technology. Because individuals can go online and pick out their own, custom-tailored health plans, there is a high level of competition between providers trying to win the business of potential consumers. Health insurance providers now have to keep patient preferences and expectations in mind just as a retail shop would to a customer.

"Health care insurance claims can be complex."

Like the retail industry, insurance providers are finding ways to improve customer service and engagement. Health care insurance claims can be complex, and patients want insurance providers that are there to answer questions and be a part of the health insurance claims follow-up process. In the same vein, insurance providers should learn patients' preferred names as well as preferences in language, diet and even religion, according to the Institute of Healthcare Consumerism. That way, correspondence between provider and patient feels a little more personal.

Although the health care insurance industry is already acting as a consumer-based marketplace, it's likely providers will continue place an emphasis on consumer engagement and overall customer satisfaction. In fact, if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on any of his campaign promises regarding health care, the insurance industry will be affected drastically. Mr. Trump wants the health care insurance industry to be reformed using free market principles. That means that health insurance sales will be opened up across state lines, leading to more choices for patients. The greater competition created by this legislation will require payers to consumerize their approach even more and focus on key principles of customer service, engagement and personalization.