2020 will be remembered as a watershed year – this year marked a turnaround point in human history that saw unprecedented times due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This year also saw unfathomable morbidity and illness that prompted governments and health officials across nations of the world to make major and sweeping changes in their healthcare systems. A host of new health initiatives and policies have been introduced to help people tide through this mammoth health crisis.
With changes in health policies, transformational changes in health insurance have also occured since 2020. There have been some remarkable adaptations and variations that the health insurance industry has witnessed in the past year.
In this article, we discuss some trends in the health insurance sector that will last across this year, and, perhaps, more.
Trend 1: Insurers will leverage technology to enhance customer experience
It is widely anticipated that technology, which includes AI and Big data, will have a profound impact on the health insurance sector and will improve the experience provided to customers.
One primary factor that contributes towards customer experience in the insurance sector is claims processing. Policyholders expect this process to be quick, simple, and less complicated.
Unfortunately, however, this process is complex and requires collaboration between various teams, greatly increasing the time taken to process claims. Also, the paper-based claims submission process and manual processing of the paperwork reduces the effectiveness and increases the likelihood of errors in the entire process.
It is predicted that insurers will begin using AI-based systems and deep learning extensively to automate the process of claims management: extracting data, identifying fraudulent claims, evaluating claims admissibility, and processing as well as settling claims will be expedited by using AI solutions. Further, AI solutions will also enable real-time adjudication of claims, enhancing customer experience.
In these stressful and harrowing times of the pandemic, customers expect their insurers to be empathetic and responsive to their needs and queries.
By using cognitive specialized AI tools such as digital-automation and intelligent bots, insurers will aid their representatives to respond better to their customers. For instance, based on the tone and pitch of customers, AI bots are now able to provide insurance representatives with tips to respond to customers with more empathy.
Also, as the pandemic has played havoc with the service sector, most service-oriented organizations are now using AI-powered bots to attend to customers. In such a scenario, it is predicted that AI-based solutions will be leveraged by insurers to understand the emotions of policyholders and provide empathetic, engaging, and interactive human-like experiences.
The adoption of AI in aiding customers can help insurers scale to respond effectively and seamlessly to the massive claim requests that are pouring in due to the pandemic.
Furthermore, it is anticipated that insurers will enhance their digital tech capabilities and become omnichannel to serve their customers better virtually.
Such tech-based initiatives become more pertinent considering that according to ‘World Insurance Report 2020’ by Capgemini, 75 per cent policyholders say that they might switch their Insurance Company providers in pursuit of seamless service.
Trend 2: Insurers will introduce more member-centric wellness initiatives
There is no denying that the pandemic has had a huge impact in terms of physical health of people across the world. Even those that have recovered from the disease are struggling to reach their previous fitness levels. Also, the lockdowns and quarantines have forced many to stay at home, reducing physical activity and increasing a sedentary lifestyle.
However, apart from physical fitness, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of people. Isolation and social distancing have resulted in a considerable rise in anxiety and depression across demographics.
As instances of physical and mental illnesses increase, there is a greater likelihood of the number of claims increasing. Consequently, insurers will see a rise in their costs and decrease in their profits. To mitigate the exacerbating costs, insurers will initiate a wide range of holistic wellness programs for their customers to encourage a mindful, positive, and meaning lifestyle.
Trend 3: Telehealth adoption will continue to rise
The pandemic, with its social distancing norms, has burdened the existing healthcare system, which has, in turn, resulted in a significant increase in the demand for virtual healthcare services. The ease and convenience of being offered good healthcare from the comfort of their homes is alluring to customers too.
As a result, a host of insurance providers have collaborated with virtual healthcare platforms to provide effective telehealth offerings to their customers.
It is predicted that telehealthcare services might substitute for the conventional in-person visits to a hospital in the coming years. This also benefits all stakeholders as the costs associated with physical visits to medical facilities are greatly reduced.
Trend 4: BigTechs will continue to provide innovative insurance solutions
Armed with technological mastery and a goldmine of customer data, BigTechs have ventured into the health insurance sector, providing innovative, digital, niche, customer-centric, and personalized insurance offerings and products during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, they have witnessed much success in the insurance sector.
The trust that customers already have in these tech-driven organizations coupled with the expertise of BigTechs into the latest, cutting-edge technology has furthered their success.
For instance, Google has invested in Oscar Health, a New York based health insurance organization that focuses on telemedicine and healthcare focused technological interfaces.
It is anticipated that this trend of BigTechs collaborating with insurance companies will continue for years to come.
In conclusion, the pandemic has transformed the manner in which the world functioned earlier. All sectors have had to rebuild their strategies to attract customers, and the health insurance sector is no different. While it has adapted well to these changes until now, it is anticipated that the insurance sector will see more transformations in the coming times.
This article is based on a research paper ‘Health Insurance Top Trends 2021 – Drivers, opportunities, and risks shaping financial services’ by Capgemini