Prepare for the Wave of Consumerism

The articles we collected for this edition of “Trend Notes” point to a couple of developing trends in health benefits industry. One is the growing reality that the health insurance market is shifting from a business-to-business model to a business-to-consumer marketplace. The second is the continuing shift to higher deductible health plans that creates abundant opportunities to expand the use of account-based health plans (ABHPs). For administrators of ABHPs these changes create opportunities for growth, but make it critical to be on a single platform that supports all plan types and that can also scale integrated customer care functions to handle the added consumer help requests that were formerly filtered by employer HR departments.  – The Editors

Report: How Insurers can Prepare for the a Wave of Consumerism

Insurers need to update their business models if they want to thrive amid “a fast growing wave of consumerism,” according to a new report from healthcare investment firm Psilos Group. The report pointed out that 40 percent of the health insurance market now consists of individual plans, a large jump from the 10 percent share of the market before implementation of the Affordable Care Act. (Read more.)

What’s Cheaper: Company Sponsored Health Plans Or The Public Health Exchange?

Critics of the Affordable Care Act predicting the high cost of public health exchanges might be surprised by the findings of an early cost analysis. The insurance prices found on public health exchanges can be as much as 45 percent lower than commercial plans for young to middle age individuals including coverage for spouses and family, cheaper when compared with the average employer-sponsored health plans in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area. (Read more.)

Cadillac Tax Revving up to Roll Over Employers

The tax kicks in in 2018, and, according to Towers Watson, while about half may pay it the first year, “the percentage is expected to rise significantly in subsequent years” as the value of large corporate plans increases, busting over the trigger point. (Read more.)

Nearly One in Four Employers Say Private Health Insurance Exchanges Could Provide a Viable Alternative for Full-Time Active Employees in 2016

Results of a July 2014 survey of midsize to large employers by global professional services company Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ:TW) showed that 28% said they had already extensively evaluated the viability of private exchanges. Nearly one in four (24%) said private exchanges could provide a viable alternative for their active full-time employees as soon as 2016. (May require free registration to InsuranceBroadcasting.com.) (Read more.)

Benefits Selling’s 2014 Employer Survey

The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has made most employers “rethink” their employee benefit offerings, including increasing employees’ share of cost even more via consumer-driven plans. (Read more.)

Private HIX Frees Walgreens to Focus on Plan Strategy

Walgreen Co.’s director of health, benefits and wellbeing knew his company, like most in the U.S., was on an unsustainable path of increasing health care costs combined with employees who didn’t focus on their wellbeing. But when the company’s senior directors started thinking about moving employee health care offerings to a private exchange, he was adamantly against it. (Read more.)

Employers Plan Major Changes in Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage

Employers remain committed to offering employees and their families health care insurance, however, company leaders plan to make major changes in plan design and strategy in order to lower escalating costs, comply with Affordable Care Act regulations, avoid business risks associated with the 2018 excise “Cadillac” tax and improve consumer engagement.(Read more.)

After Owning Exchanges in 2014, Blues Plans Face New Competitors

In terms of market share, Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans owned public insurance exchanges this year. But when the next open-enrollment period kicks off on Nov. 15, they will face a wave of new competitors ranging from small Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs) expanding into new markets, to national health plan operators that largely sat on the sidelines last year. And incumbent carriers that priced products conservatively last year appear to be taking a more aggressive position for 2015. (AIS free site registration required.) (Read more.)

This entry was posted in Trend Notes. Bookmark the permalink.