We have extensively argued about the imminent need to reform the general health care model, not only national health care systems but also all the sectors that play – or can and should- play an important role in this process.
By exploring the business opportunities the spa and wellness industries can develop with an innovative approach towards issues such as child obesity and emerging synergies with hospitals and the pharmaceutical field, our blog has highlighted the overall importance to adopt a preventive model towards health.
This week, we talk about health insurance companies. In this post, we will explore the current crisis of health care insurance companies and the possible solutions to it. In the end, we will provide our own insights regarding the business opportunity this environment offers to spas.
The Crisis of Health Care Companies
The current situation surrounding health insurance companies is so critical that a recent article in the New York Times written by Ezekiel Emanuel, an American bioethicist, and Jeffrey Liebman, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, has already predicted the extinction of the health insurance industry in the US by 2020.
Apart from the fact that “most non-elderly Americans work for companies that are self-insured,” the current role of health insurance companies in the US has been reduced to activities dealing with the processing of billing claims. Moreover, the companies that actually provide coverage have been losing terrain because of the way they exclude unhealthy people from their systems, a situation that can get even worse with the implementation of the upcoming “health care law’s total ban on exclusions for pre-existing conditions”.
In addition to these structural problems, health insurance companies are also suffering from the prevailing reactive model that currently defines health care systems all over the world. The lack of preventive approaches within the health sector forces insurance companies to deal with chronic diseases and expensive treatments whose costs are later transferred to employees, consumers and taxpayers.
A Solution Based on Prevention
A preventive approach towards health is definitely a big part of the recipe to solve this crisis. Because of the dysfunctional way in which health care companies are currently operating, Emanuel and Liebman foresee a future where “accountable care organizations will increase coordination of patient’s care and shift the focus of medicine away from treating sickness and toward keeping people healthy.”
Just like national health care systems, if insurance companies proactively advocated good health and preventive models, people would not get ill so often, hence the cost for hospitalisation or medical intervention would decrease. Overall medical insurance companies would make more benefits and gain a better reputation amongst consumers.
In order to implement this change, health insurance companies need to elaborate an innovative business model capable of providing more value for consumers. By encouraging the implementation of follow-ups, enhanced customer service, and the promotion of activities that involved the well being of their clients, insurance companies will improve their overall performance avoiding the negative impression they currently have.
A New Business Opportunity for Spas
This preventive approach is the one the spa industry can take advantage of in order to size new business opportunities coming from the transformation of health care companies. In particular, the promotion of activities focusing on the wellbeing of the clients offer a fertile terrain for spas to build innovative service offerings towards the future.
The spa and wellness industries needs to provide services that can help and be compatible with health care systems. This new framework will also help us to re-visit and improve even further our yield management systems.