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Health Insurance Top 10 Issues ‘07

Health Insurance Top 10 Issues ‘07

What’s going to drive change in 2007? How are health plans positioning for the future? Here’s a look at the trends shaping health insurance this coming year.

Technology From cybercondriacs to genomics, healthcare technology will be a huge force. With over 120 million people online searching for health information, the customer has embraced technology! For health plans, integrated benefit card technology promises a new era of administrative efficiency.

Differentiatio n Health insurance products have become indistinguishable. Going head-to-head with competitors means rising above this “sea of sameness”. Differentiation will come from unique brand positioning that connects with customers and has competitive muscle.

Boomers America’s 78 million baby boomers are expected to live longer than any generation this country has ever seen. They are educated, tech savvy and convenience driven. From empty nesters to Medicare, boomers are a growing opportunity for health insurers.

Consumerism “Proof-of-concept” will take center stage in 2007 as health plans justify Consumer Driven Healthcare investments. Employers are expecting premium savings and at the same time employees are suffering deductible shock and benefit intimidation.

Distribution Detailed customer profiles, psych-demographic data and predictive modeling are making multiple sales channels a competitive necessity. The result is improved product awareness and a one-on-one customer relationship that turns into sales growth.

Lifestyle Half of Americans now believe it is fair for people with unhealthy lifestyles to pay higher insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays. New and innovative lifestyle management programs are embracing wellness and prevention and rewarding members to get healthy.

Individuals As employer-based health insurance shrinks and the uninsured population grows, the individual health insurance market is booming. Products need to be tailored to unique purchaser needs, striking the right balance between benefits, affordability and insurability.

Convergence Health insurers own banks and banks have healthcare business units. Financial planners are integrating benefits into long-term asset protection, and health brokers are weighing tax implications of HSAs. Today’s healthcare consumers are tomorrow’s payers.

Communication Customers are demanding information in user-friendly, readily accessible formats. Communications need to reflect demographic segmentation. It will take a new mix of strategies to ensure that companies are reaching their target customer.

Healthcare Concierge medicine, hospitalists, intensivists, retail clinics and medical tourism are changing health care delivery. Spending on prescription drugs will surge and employers will continue to cut back on sponsoring health benefits.

This year promises to be challenging. Smart health plan executives will set themselves up to anticipate market change, refine strategic vision and capture new market opportunities.

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