For healthcare insurance providers, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 and the subsequent phasing-in of major provisions in 2014 presented some serious challenges. As we move through 2017 and the potential for future changes to the U.S. healthcare system, insurance providers are bracing for future market disruptions coming at the hands of political change.
Setting aside the politics, there are additional challenges that insurance providers need to address, i.e., the evolving expectations and buying preferences of today’s insurance buyers.
What Do Today’s Insurance Buyers Value?
In a discussion facilitated by Deloitte regarding the outlook for the healthcare industry in 2017, Greg Scott, Deloitte’s national leader of the Health Plan’s practice, posits that a key consideration for providers is understanding how their customers define and realize value.
While most consumers place the highest value on the interactions they have with their providers, there’s still a meaningful emphasis on how they engage with their insurance providers.
So what can insurance providers do to ensure they’re providing the value and helpful experiences consumers want? The following are a few opportunities insurance companies can learn from to help provide value across their customer engagements.
1. Be transparent.
For many people, one of the most intimidating aspects of obtaining health insurance is determining precisely what it is that’s being purchased. They want to know what the policy provides, the cost, and to have their questions answered quickly and easily. Providers need to offer easy access to information online as well as opportunities for customers to speak with representatives equipped to manage inquiries and provide answers.
2. Streamline manual processes.
The health insurance industry is highly regulated. Providers must manage compliance, approvals, and numerous complex business processes. Although there are already numerous tools in place to help manage and even automate these processes, there are emerging technologies with the potential to make things even easier. Machine learning, cognitive automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and others may just sound like buzzwords, but in the coming years, these tools could become staples for health insurance providers and other industries looking to drive efficiency through automation.
3. Deliver a consumer shopping experience.
We talk about it all the time - today’s buyers expect (or at least often prefer) personalized digital experiences when engaging with a business. Healthcare isn’t excused from having to comply with the wants and needs of modern customers. As noted above, there are numerous tech innovations out there that can help health insurance providers take their offerings online, leverage data to create more personalized experiences, and drive efficiency.
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