There has been an increased awareness of the importance of good health in recent times. People from all walks of life are now opting for policies that have better health coverage and all-inclusive benefits. Furthermore, the recent pandemic has raised an increased awareness of the benefits of health insurance amongst the youth of the country (Millennials & Zoomers (Gen Z)). Not only has the consumption of health insurance grown, but the health-centric youth is also now clearer on what they want their health insurance policy to include.
Millennials and Zoomers care more about healthcare benefits than any other generation before them. Employers are also gearing up and reforming their health benefits packages to attract and retain good talent. Insurers and third-party administrators, on the other hand, are working on the three main aspects that the youth is looking for when it comes to healthcare – convenience and personalized experience, speed of settlement.
A new age of customer acquisition for insurance companies
Zoomers, sometimes known as “Digital Natives” are frequently single, without children or dependents, and in generally good health. Many people already have coverage through a family member's policy. Nonetheless, older ones who have reached or are about to reach maturity require various sorts of insurance; it simply looks a little different.
It involves a major level of insurance education that needs to be parted to these young people about the benefits of coverage. Their need for individualized, digital-first experiences has the potential to open up new revenue streams now and in the future. As most Zoomers forego any type of insurance due to lack of any dependents, it makes the cost of the coverage difficult to justify.
Financial protection for a typical family structure is generally the subject of insurance marketing. If offered as an affordable and personalized means to support a certain cause and leave a legacy, a socially conscious twenty-year-old is considerably more likely to buy a life insurance policy.
Some forward-thinking trends in the health insurance sector could be a policy that can be used as a method to pay for an individual’s health-app subscription, their psychologist, or life coach. In this approach health insurance can take care of their overall fitness. Most essentially, the buyer gets a sense of being taken care of.
Accelerated health insurance needs due to COVID - A boon for insurance companies
A new protective mindset is a connected feature of insurance's possible growth and transformation. COVID-19, as well as client perceptions of insurance, are important factors impacting all generations. In this year's survey, over half of the Zoomers and Millennials and 40% of Gen X and Boomers said the pandemic had made insurance more important.
It is unlikely that the COVID effect will be short-lived, instead, it has just accelerated customer’s insurance needs. Even if COVID disappeared tomorrow, insurers must adapt swiftly with new or updated products, value-added services, and customer experiences that match rapidly changing customer demands and expectations. The COVID-accelerated work and home trends have been around long enough to have left an indelible mark on the economy and consumer sentiment.
Need for Mental Peace
The youth today are more aware and sensitive about issues relating to mental health. The stresses and strains of modern-day life have time and again proven to have adverse effects on both Millennials and Zoomers. Not only are they literate when it comes to mental health, but they also shy away from seeking help when required. Including mental health coverage for the treatment of illnesses such as depression, anxiety etc. are a top priority for the youth.
Paving the way for Digi-health
COVID-19 has certainly helped consumers to tap into digital as a channel for healthcare consumption. While the threat of COVID may have reduced, the telemedicine trend is here to stay. For a generation that has grown up living on their smartphones, it is without a doubt that the consumption pattern is a win-win situation for both the youth and healthcare providers.
Top trends in the health insurance sector
Wearable gadgets aid in the creation of customized insurance policies. Insurers can offer discounts on premiums if the potential/existing policyholder achieves pre-determined health goals.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
RPA & AI can be incredibly productive when it comes to connecting with customers, recognizing their needs, and matching them with the right health coverage. They are important tools for health insurance businesses to improve their operational efficiency. They are highly efficient because of their precision and capacity to complete repetitive operations in a short period of time. These technologies boost precision while reducing resource dependency.
Application Programming Interface
Insurance businesses, like banks, are moving toward an open API framework to facilitate the flow of data between systems. When it comes to patient eligibility, health data, digital claims administration, and so on, health insurers require effective integration, and APIs are excellent for this free flow of information in the healthcare ecosystem.
Those who travel frequently for work or who work as digital nomads will find global health insurance coverage particularly appealing, offering modular packages with home country coverage to better meet customers' needs. With more competition in the industry, payers may discover more appealing packages from international insurance providers than they can obtain domestically.
Digital health offers true globalization of healthcare, allowing patients to receive high-quality digital health services from anywhere (barring shipping restrictions), even if the companies providing those services are based in different nations or continents. Take, for example, Atlas Biomed, which is based in the United Kingdom. Patients in other countries can use its at-home microbiome testing kits. Even if the service would not be provided through a local company, patients can use these gadgets and services and bring the data to their doctor.
Socialized medicine v/s private insurance
People in countries with a socialized medical system have access to basic healthcare, but the expense of maintaining such a system leaves little money to invest in and implement pricey medical advancements. They would also be difficult to implement across the board because the system as a whole cannot afford them in all institutions. As a result, a patient may be seen by an oncologist within days, but that patient will not receive precision treatment.
Patients in nations with a private insurance system are more likely to have access to cutting-edge technologies; that is if they are affluent enough to afford them, as only the wealthy with decent insurance policies can afford them. As a result, such income discrepancies may have biological effects. Digital health technology will only increase such gaps if they are not properly regulated.
Predictive and Behavioural Analytics
The foundation of effective insurance underwriting is data analytics. Predictive and behavioural analytics assist a health insurance provider in sending preventative care notifications to insureds, determining what type of health coverage is best for a certain client, and detecting fraud.
In health insurance, cloud infrastructure has been a supporting function. However, as many technologies must coexist, communicate, and comply with one another, it is quickly becoming a core role. For health insurers, cloud computing provides flexibility, improved management, cost optimization, and data access from anywhere at any time.
Filling generational gaps in coverage requires personalized messaging at various stages of life. Insurers can make the inclined zoomers into their most valuable consumers by building an alternative value offer. Insurers can also use social media to access a person’s lifestyle and educate them depending on their behaviour online. They can use it for customer education, engagement, and lead generation as well.
Nikhil Chopra is the Chief Business Officer at Medi Assist, a Bangalore-based InsurTech and HealthTech company that delivers informed healthcare decisions through partnerships with insurance companies and healthcare providers.