“I Bought the Company Health Plan on the App Store” – Not Yet, But Maybe Soon? 

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Aug 08 2019

Oliver Wyman and the National Business Group on Health recently asked healthcare stakeholders (including employers) for their predictions on what healthcare will look like in 2030. Here’s one to think about: 56% of the surveyed employers expect to buy at least one health service for their program from a tech giant – like Apple, Google, or Amazon – in the next five years.

This prediction comes with several disclaimers. The first is that these tech giants have to actually create healthcare products for employers to purchase – but I think we can all agree this is pretty likely to happen. Assuming it does, what else needs to fall into place? 

Let’s consider how employers purchase targeted health solutions – like diabetes management programs, for example – today. We know from the Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans that of employers who offer these specialized solutions to their employee population, a whopping 82% purchase them through their health plan. Health plans have long been the trusted purveyors for health-related products and solutions in the employer space, and it may be an uphill battle for tech giants to gain traction in the employer market.

But what if the tech giants are offering something better? We keep saying that employers need to embrace disruption, and that includes expanding purchasing patterns beyond traditional channels. It does mean taking a risk, since the solutions on the leading edge may not look and feel like the employer-sponsored programs we’re all used to. But if your benefit consumers are actually looking for something new and different, sticking to business as usual may be the bigger risk. 

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