The future of health insurance

How health insurance providers can meet consumer demands for individualized and predictive health management

Over 100 years ago, German chancellor Otto vonBismarck established a national social security systemto shield the population from the full force of accidents,illness, disability, or old-age poverty. The late 19thcentury was dominated by political and economicinsecurity – health was considered a rare privilegedependent on the whims of fate. A considerableproportion of the population did not live beyond nineyears of age, and diseases such as the flu could ruinentire families. Introducing a supportive social securitysystem laid the foundation for our current healthcaresystem which views illness as a controllablephenomenon, and offers relief in emergencies thanks toresearch and the network principle.
 
Today’s world is characterized by the digitalinterconnection of all areas of work and life. Digitalization is leading to the development of uniquedynamics regarding our ideas of the human body,health, healing, and optimization. Patients will havemore and more information about their fitness andoverall health condition without necessarily beingotherwise better informed. At the same time, customerdemands for individualized solutions, rapid diagnoses,and the precision of medical professionals will grow. This means data flow will increasingly determine theinteraction of industry players while new players willenter healthcare markets and compete with traditionalexperts in the health sector: food companies, sportinggoods manufacturers, IT companies, and providers ofwellness and fitness apps.
 
The results of these developments include moreindividualized medical care and a new basicunderstanding of the healthcare sector which will beshaped more by the notion of optimizing the humanbody than repairing temporary deficits. And whilepracticing physicians may vehemently argue that theirtreatments have always been individualized –digitalization will put the individual at the center of theirpersonal health network like never before. “Sufferingpatients” will increasingly become customers withcompletely new demands regarding their healthcareproviders’ performance. And many new voices will jointhe choir: GPs’ professional opinions will stand in directcompetition with the interpretations of self-styled or media-hyped experts. Every player who understandscustomer needs and makes a genuine, transparenteffort to improve their well-being will gain customer trust.
 
This means the situation will become outstandinglycomplex for health insurance providers. They will notonly face growing challenges from within the industryand from the customer side: In an efficient and effectivehealthcare system – of which a strongly growingsegment will be independently financed – it is alsounclear how health insurance providers will best fulfilltheir responsibility in the future, how they willimplement specialist and process know-how in thehealthcare market, how they will remove tensionsbetween increasing individualization on the one handand a strong solidarity on principle on the other, andhow they will deal with the opportunities and limitationsof the growing amount of data in the healthcare market.
 
Health insurance providers will then – more than ever –fulfill a social and economic responsibility: Demographicchange will lead to a lack of skilled workers, whichmeans even the elderly will have to remain productivefor longer. Health insurance companies can relieve theentire healthcare system through strategic healthcarepolicies. Generally, insurers enjoy a promising startingpoint from which to reach the center of the customer’shealth network and promote their well-being. This way,health insurance providers will become healthpromoters.
 
These new responsibilities will fundamentally place thetraditional role concepts of insurers in question, andonly those providers who proactively face the currentchallenges as opportunities will be able to transfer theirmarket position into future healthcare markets.
 
A chief characteristic of digitalization is the exponentialspeed of development across all industries. Thehealthcare sector is also affected by this unusual speedof transformation which cannot be addressed throughtraditional, linear strategies. This trend study names thekey drivers of the transformation of business andinsurance, and compiles a likely picture of the future ofhealth insurance companies in ten years based on theroadmaps and motives of core stakeholders. The studyis supposed to be a guidebook for players in thehealthcare industry to check their strategies accordingto the predicted picture of the future and adapt them ifneeded. Please view the included assessments andrecommendations as impulses for checking your owncompany development and redefining your strategy.We would love to help you with the implementation ofthe strategic recommendations.

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