As the health insurance industry continues to navigate the Affordable Care Act, 2014 will be a turning point for carriers, companies, and consumers. Despite the uncertain outlook, some key trends will inevitably emerge as insurers seek to accommodate the impact of Obamacare and engage the newly-insured.
Obamacare Drives up Payments Volumes – and Expenses – for Insurers
As companies move away from offering healthcare to employees, insurers will experience significant growth in customer payments. Led by large brands like Sears and Target, other fortune 500 companies will divest themselves of this HR function and thereby pass on new overhead and costs to insurers. Customers prefer to use high-cost payment methods (credit cards) which, if not managed correctly, can have a sizable impact for insurers.
Healthcare Goes Social
As Obamacare policies go into effect in 2014, Americans will (finally) come to understand the dynamics and economics of the program and begin to discuss it on social media. Those who benefit the most (lower income families) will applaud the effort while those who are covering the costs (Millennials and families with incomes at or above $100K) will complain about the additional costs. Expect lots of tweets, likes and dislikes from sides!
Private Exchanges Thrive
The stumbling roll-out of healthcare.gov provides an immediate opportunity for insurers to lure new customers “off-exchange.” Finding websites that actually work, customers will opt to enroll in privately offered plans.
Mobile Services Ramp Up
The smart phone culture pushes insurers to offer increased mobile services. New customers bring new preferences and mobile is one of them. Insurers will need to provide more self-service opportunities for customers and will therefore invest heavily in mobile initiatives as a way to reduce customer use of higher cost channels.