Recently I was talking with a colleague about some trends that are “trending” – namely the struggle with increasing costs and the growth of more retail “expressions” in health care. Every day we’re seeing articles about the expected rise of health insurance premiums especially in the individual market and in certain industries. Likewise, we see articles showing how retail settings are expanding to provide more services to consumers, including life insurance and chronic care.
I wondered whether the more things change, the more they stay the same.
As I was looking at some presentations I did nearly 10 years ago, I came across a slide (image on your left) that made me realize that perhaps things don’t change that much, at least in health care.
Those of us who have been looking at health care trends and forecasting implications might be slightly gratified to see that in fact (and finally), health care is catching up to where we said it was going. Our hope is that with time – and with transparency and certain regulatory changes – consumers will be able to shop. Just as you can purchase Waterford crystal at Neiman Marcus (high price point and high level of service) or at CostCo (lower price point and lower level of service), the same should happen in our industry.
And in our area of the industry, private exchanges – another expression of “going retail” in health care – are completely consistent with the notion of consumers shopping, although health insurance is hardly retail therapy.