Where there is mystery there is margin. There is plenty of mystery and confusion in the health care system.
What is interesting in the rise of the consumer is the convergence of Health and Wealth.
bWell-informed offer a health plan forecaster that leads you in to a transaction to acquire health insurance. Background information plus a Health Risk Assessment to predict your likely needs and allow you to compare plans based upon your health risk profile.
Change:Healthcare enables an online community of employees and employers that shares, compares and tracks their healthcare experiences. The site can also track and manage claims and expenses. You can also track for up to 12 members in a family unit.
Getinsured.com helps consumers choose suitable health insurance. The site helps match budget to needs.
Quicken Health from Intuit offers a medical expense tracker. QH can match up EOBs to expenses. The site offers a Claims Assistant tool to identify potential savings or issues. The system also offers the ability to make payments. Quicken Health downloads claims data from Health Plan insurers. The application is partnered with Health Plan partners and will be available in early 2009.
Quicken are developing a common standard for data interchange with their Health Plan partners.
MedicareSaver simplifies the process of selecting a Medicare Part D plan. This can reduce the typical 8 hour selection process to a 5 minute process by way of an online questionnaire.
Where the site recognizes changes to drug prescriptions it can even print a letter to be mailed to your physician to agree a change in medication. eg. a switch from branded to generic drugs.
The analysis can also look at restricted versus non-restricted plans. They act as payment plan concierge service. Once you have selected your plan they track on going changes in plans to ensure you can optimize your costs in current and future years.
All of these companies are hitting the barriers of proprietary silos that have been erected over many years. Supporting consumers involves openly sharing information and putting a plain english translation in place to help consumers understand what they are being told.
"There is something wrong when the Explanation of Benefits statement needs an Explanation"
Research is also showing that when consumers are given relevant information that can trigger behavior change.
This information, when tied to financial implications, link wellness with long term financial wealth. As consumers become more empowered and have great financial investment in their health then wellness may become a wealth investment strategy.
We need to reduce the barriers to participation and make it easy for consumers. This is the core of Health 2.0 and is a massive change from the proprietary approaches that have been prevalent in the traditional health care market.