The future of health insurance

December 22, 2020

The impact of Covid-19 on the private health insurance industry has varied by country. Some have had private health facilities seconded by the government and others have volunteered them to support the response. Self-isolation and global quarantines mean there has been a significant reduction in elective and required treatment leading to reduced claim volumes in the short term. 

But what are the potential longer-term impacts on health insurance? We look at three ways the industry may be changed by both technology and our need to live with Covid-19 until a viable vaccine or treatment is widely available. 

At its simplest healthcare can be divided into two areas, diagnostic and therapeutic. While there is no doubt digital plays a vital role in the future of both, it is particularly pertinent when it comes to diagnosis because this is based on the analysis of information. This element of healthcare can be completed digitally more easily. 

The digitisation of healthcare was occurring prior to 2020 but this year’s pandemic has accelerated growth significantly. We can see this in the demand for telehealth during Covid-19 restrictions so patients can have a consultation with a medical practitioner from the comfort and safety of their own home. 

From a health insurance perspective, customers are more likely to avail of online or digital doctor services, making healthcare more affordable, efficient and scalable. In person appointments and the higher costs associated with them can be reserved for additional testing and treatment of diagnosed illness. 

Continuing advances in the healthcare industry has led to a move away from the traditional medical approach of ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to the treatment of disease. Improvements in testing for illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer’s allow for earlier detection, analysis and a more personalised approach to treatment and care. This personalisation of healthcare has up and down sides for the insurance industry.     

Medical advances are also leading to better, more personalised treatment of advanced cancers. This is likely to increase survival rates for those diagnosed with cancers at stage III to V. With the right data, this may in turn enable underwriters and insurers to accept patients with later stage cancers and offer them better rates for health insurance.  

Prior to the Covid crises, digital platforms were already having an impact on the healthcare industry. Digital services were increasingly finding ways to expand their footprint in the healthcare space. For example, Google created Verily, a business putting digital information to work to support healthcare. Verily has joined forces with Sanfi to tackle Diabetes.  

A study by Roland Berger in 2020 showed industry experts believe digital platforms from big tech and digital health startups will be the preferred partner for healthy people looking to remain that way due to the huge amounts of behavioural data they can gather and store. 

It also predicts that health insurers are likely to play a greater role in the prevention of illness in healthy people. This makes sense from a business point of view as the healthier insurance owners are, the fewer claims they are likely to make.       

These are just three ways in which the health insurance industry may evolve in the years following the 2020 global pandemic. If you are interested in looking further into the future of healthcare, check out the Allianz Care future health, care and wellbeing series

If your business is looking for a personalised solution to your company’s international health insurance needs, get in touch today.