Your health is the most important thing you have. While we all like to make smart choices about our diet, exercise, and lifestyle, we still all need to rely on our health insurance from time to time. That being said, health insurance costs are at an all-time high today, and Americans currently pay $3.4 trillion a year for medical care.
As much as we wish we’d never have any illnesses, chronic conditions, or emergencies, these things do happen. The best way to prepare is through a health insurance plan that provides the right amount of coverage. Luckily, the health insurance market is rapidly changing. This means there are more affordable solutions for insurance today than ever before. This is good news for local leaders hoping to find new ways to help their community get the care they need. Let’s explore 5 trends shaping the health insurance market, and talk about how they’ll make an impact in the next few years.
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One of the biggest and most noticeable changes amongst health insurance is the rise in personalization. In the past, patients would have to visit in-network doctors even if they felt these professionals didn’t meet their needs. Today, there are more options. Patients who prefer certain doctors or specialists are able to retain their coverage.
Local governments are playing a part in this personalization as well. By promoting health awareness campaigns, educational initiatives, and more specialized care, local leaders are helping make health care work for more people regardless of background.
In the last few years, we’ve seen a rise in telemedicine. Telemedicine is any type of digital healthcare or assistance that is not conducted in person. Most of these types of services are seen in smartphone apps that allow patients to access a health professional in only a few clicks. One of the top telemedicine apps is MDLIVE which allows patients to access a doctor 24/7 within 15 minutes through a free smartphone app.
Telemedicine is starting to become an affordable option for those who wouldn’t normally be able to afford a visit to the doctor. These board-certified physicians can even prescribe some minor medicines virtually, and that means less time spent waiting at an office for minor conditions. Local government has been a champion of telemedicine, particularly in rural areas where people might not have access to the care they need quickly.
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3. Big Data
Big data is a part of everything we do, and it’s becoming even more common. Thanks to the rise of technology in our day-to-day lives, our phones and tech tools now know our every move and feeling. While this sometimes feels like a scene from a sci-fi novel, it doesn’t have to be a negative thing. In fact, data is being leveraged to make local and state policies that work towards making the world a healthier place.
The insurance marketing is making use of this data as well. By applying this data to medicine, we’re seeing more computation in healthcare. One one hand there’s a drive for a higher level of service, but on the other hand, we need to be careful not to have this system exploited.
4. Wearable Devices
Even if you don’t have a Fitbit, odds are your technology is already tracking your health and wellness. Wearable technology is changing the world 10,000 steps at a time. Not only are these a useful way to gather data, they also support healthy living. While wearable fitness trackers aren’t likely to solve every health problem, they are a way to improve on “chronic conditions” that might be caused by sedentary, unhealthy lifestyles.
Insurance programs are starting to offer benefits to those who have proven they’re committed to healthier choices. We’ve seen a rise in discount programs for those who submit wearable information to their providers, and this is something we can all get behind as community leaders.
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5. Affordable Insurance
Finally, one of the biggest movements recently is the push for affordable, cohesive healthcare for all. Under the Affordable Care Act, government officials have attempted to find a way to create a system that works for everyone who needs it. However, new changes are developing at both a state and local level that might continue to offer a new solution to a complicated problem.
One thing that seems to have developed out of this push for insurance that’s fair to all is the rise of supplemental healthcare. People want more flexibility about their coverage, whether that means choosing a network provider that’s right for them or adding supplemental dental coverage. You can read more about supplemental insurance options here.
Health insurance is a complex issue that’s in the midst of an evolution. People around the country are pushing for affordable options that work for their unique health situation. As local leaders, we can help fight for the right insurance for all members of our public.
Whether the solution we’ve been waiting for lies in new technology or a government program, we need to be proactive. As long as we focus on health education and local programs, we are taking steps in the right direction.