Hardly anybody likes health insurance, including me. It costs too much, it’s too complex, and it feels like a necessary evil.
Yes, we need coverage. I have five kids, so I can’t get by without it and wouldn’t even dare to try. But you have to admit, don’t we all find ourselves thinking, when (if ever) does the real value of health insurance kick in?
Here’s the short answer: when tragedy strikes. But nobody wants tragedy.
The tragedy-covering health insurance plan is what most of us know. It’s the health plan of yesterday and largely the health plan of today — what most of us probably have.
But that’s starting to change. And it will have to change even more — and more quickly — as time goes on.
I bet you’re thinking, really? Why?
Health insurers, now motivated by new value-based and accountable care models, are responsible for your health and wellness. That’s not perfectly true, as you and I are responsible for our health and wellness, but if we don’t take care of ourselves, who pays for it?
You got it: the health insurer. Which prompts them to think differently. More creatively. They have to in order to stay in business.
Looking into the future, I think that health insurers will act more like health “ensurers” than your typical tragedy-only-covering-health plan of the past.
Think about it. Sure, you and I don’t love health insurance, point well taken. But if tomorrow you received an alert from your health plan warning you that your risk of getting the flu this week is high because you didn’t walk enough steps this week or because you haven’t slept enough hours in the last few days (or another reason), would you pay attention?
But maybe you wouldn’t care to respond to your health plan. You might respond to your primary care doctor or to a friend. However, in some cases, the health insurer (“ensurer”) will feed data or alerts to the doctor or someone else you know, so they can reach out via a channel you know and prefer.
Would you pay attention in that case? Probably.
These types of things have already started to happen. While they’re not common or visible to most consumers today, health plans are becoming smarter and more nimble about looking at data and factors influencing your health, and then prompting action.
In other words, they are working to help ensure health. Or at least try to do so.
It’s not just about sickness anymore. It’s not just about paying claims. The world will look different — it must look different.