Jane Doe is going shopping. But she doesn’t reach for her car keys. It’s her laptop she wants. She’s in the market for a new car, so she logs into Facebook and uses a status update to ask her friends for advice, then browses Google for reviews. She’s traveling soon, so she picks a ticket on Expedia and bids on a hotel room through Priceline. Then it’s on to Amazon, to check what other readers have said about a new book the site auto-recommended to her. Next, a very important purchase: health insurance . . .
The era of retail healthcare is upon us, visible in the growth of retail clinics, Web brokers, brick-and-mortar health insurance stores, and nontraditional delivery channels such as telemedicine. Consumer advertising has become an essential part of marketing everything from prescription drugs to Medicare Advantage plans. And now, thanks to U.S. healthcare reform and the crisis of healthcare affordability, the trend is about to accelerate dramatically in the world of health insurance. As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) phases in, tens of millions of previously uninsured consumers will flood into the exchanges mandated by the law. They will be joined there by tens of millions of consumers whose employers have opted out of conventional insurance and shifted to vouchers or definedcontribution programs. By 2020, Oliver Wyman expects to see the emergence of a new retail health insurance market of as many as 100 million shoppers wielding $500 billion of purchasing power.
Authors: Howard Lapsley and Tom Main