Many economists support the fact that an employer-sponsored health insurance is hurting the pockets of employees. Almost all experts are recommending the separation of insurance from employment. Though the private insurance systems are available, the dependence on employer-sponsored insurance is very high in western countries like USA.
Self-Insuring the Healthcare Sector
Companies are increasingly looking to self-insure the health care. This can be done in various ways but in the most likely scenario, they will use the reach of technology and mass acceptance of smart devices for developing smart ecosystems such as telemedicine, robotics for surgery, diagnostics network, and clouds of electronic medical records.
Challenges of the Current Healthcare Insurance System
There are sector specific challenges in the current healthcare system as a fragmented ecosystem of suppliers and manufacturers. Healthcare insurance provides face pressures on margins, and regulatory policies are uncertain. A patient does not have enough knowledge and they lack the control over its decisions to make insurance claims. The fundamental difficulty with the system is that it makes the patients vulnerable, unable to make decisions for their own benefits and can’t avoid the potential risks.
The current system induces people to spend more money on health insurance and overall health care spending. It is regressive and expensive and represents the single largest tax expenditure. It makes people dependent on their employers for their health insurance and they are worried about how the exchange coverage may not be affordable to them if they leave the job. Doctors have opinion that the patients are at disadvantage if they don’t have insurance or if the coverage is uncertain. Government can take initiative to sponsor health insurance for all people as a promising alternative to the current system.
Technology Enabled Solutions
The internet has enabled the patients to get online consultations and take second opinions from experts. Technologies such as the mobile applications allow them to monitor their own health. The crucial missing ingredients are provided by these solutions such as the access to their own health care history, diagnosis reports, medical records, and they are able to share information with anyone if required.
Recently, a new venture was announced between three companies in USA – Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan for creating better, cheaper health care for their employees. The partnership among these companies has profound effects on the future of healthcare and shows that companies are no longer interested in supporting a broken system.
“So tomorrow, if AI can shape health care, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare … In fact, I see that as one of the biggest areas is where the benefits will play out for the next 10 to 20 years.” – Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google.
Healthcare Insurance by Employers
More people in the developed world are self-employed people and businessmen rather than being an employee. This is giving rise to the emergence of new companies providing healthcare insurance solutions for them. Businesses could compete on benefits to employees and attract talent while contributing to the healthcare health care insurance. Employers can also put in place best in class solutions, build medical networks and communications systems. They need not be a passive payment giver in healthcare, but be the driver that works towards controlling the costs and improving the experience by joining hands with technology providers.