Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • April 2018
Written by 

Health care consumers want

For years, the troubling trend of consumers spending more and insurance paying less for everyday health care expenses has continued. The health care consumer feels bound to the traditional health care model, with no choice but to stomach the increased costs.

This trend, however, can only go so far before the consumer demands better value and a choice in how their health care is delivered. This choice will inevitably change health care and insurance to lower cost.

Here are five examples of how companies and organizations are bringing competition and choice to health care and insurance, preparing for a future in which these marketplaces are centered on what the consumer wants and needs.

  1. On Jan. 30, 2018, CEOs Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Warren Buffet announced the three companies are forming a separate company to produce “simplified, high-quality and transparent health care at a reasonable cost” for their combined 1.2 million employees. In the press release announcing the initiative, Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway, the world’s third richest person, called rising health care costs a “hungry tapeworm on the American economy.”
  2. On Dec. 3, 2017, CVS Health announced its $69 billion acquisition of Aetna. CVS CEO Larry Menlo, who pulled tobacco products from all CVS stores 2014, is planning dramatic changes to make CVS’s 10,000 community retail pharmacies the convenient places consumers will go to get healthy.
  3. On Dec. 5, 2017, Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, announced its $2.3 billion acquisition of Atrium Innovations, a global leader in nutritional health products. Nestlé is seeing reduced sales of processed and packaged food and is seeking to increase its focus on nutrition, health and wellness. As a result of the acquisition, consumers can expect greater access to Atrium Innovations’ science-based, nutritional products and brands including AOV, Garden of Life, Douglas Laboratories, Pure Encapsulations, Genestra Brands, Klean Athlete, Minami Nutrition, Orthica, Pharmax, Trophic and Wobenzym.
  4. In January of 2018, Apple announced a new health record software product that gives consumers greater access to their health information. A beta test is in the works with 12 leading hospital systems. The goal is for consumers to have health record control and collaboration with any provider, anytime and anywhere.
  5. Back in 1989, Dr. Jeffrey Bland gathered health leaders to look at what health care would look like in the future. His group determined health care of the future would move away from simply treating symptoms, and look more at cause or body function to prevent and reverse disease. As a result, the Institute of Functional Medicine was founded with these principles in mind. In 2016, the Cleveland Clinic hospital added a Functional Medicine clinic and they currently have a consumer demand of 2,700 patients waiting to get in.

Given a choice, consumers will choose the best care and coverage at the best cost, and, more importantly, drive needed change to health care and insurance. Companies are preparing for a future in which the consumer has more choice. Change is coming.

John Ulness

John Ulness is co-owner of Ulness Health Insurance & Wellness in Appleton. He helps people in Wisconsin understand their health insurance options to control costs and enroll. He can be reached at 1-800-386-0876 or [email protected]

Website: ulnesshealth.com
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