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5 Big Ideas from AHIP Conference

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, June 18, 2014

In a lively series of presentations at the America's Health Insurance Plans annual conference, attendees were urged to brace for disruptive technologies, do more with data, and embrace radical change.

We have probably all been to professional conferences where glassy-eyed attendees shuffle from session to session. This year's America's Health Insurance Plans was not like that. Not at all.

There is nothing quite like an existential threat to clear the mind.

For decades, employer-sponsored insurance policies have dominated the market, prompting a wholesale approach to the business. Now, health insurance exchanges and widespread cost-sharing with health plan members is spurring a shift to retail business models.

At the America's Health Insurance Plans Institute 2014— the group's annual conference—in Seattle, there was an unquenchable thirst for big ideas to help insurers tackle the titanic challenge ahead. Here is a sample:

1. Expect disruptive technologies to spark exponential growth.
Keynote speaker Peter Diamandis MD, co-founder, CEO, and chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, had the audience's full attention from his very first words: "We're living in the most extraordinary time ever. You're in for a wild ride ahead."

Diamandis said exponential growth of disruptive technology and new business models will be in the driver's seat during the healthcare industry's "wild ride" over the next decade.

"The rate at which disruption is occurring is accelerating," the pancreatic surgeon said, adding that faster and cheaper computing power is providing the foundation for emerging technology. "A couple of guys and gals working in a garage can impact a billion people in less than 10 years."

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2 comments on "5 Big Ideas from AHIP Conference"


Brian Baum (6/21/2014 at 8:32 AM)
The true question facing health plans will they morph to the next generation of healthcare, or be marginalized as the industry transforms around them? As health insurance trends toward a consumer purchase numerous questions arise. Health plans have thrived in a wonderful world – manage membership and process claims. For the lucrative self-insured market, costs are simply passed on to the sponsor of the benefit plan. Health plans have squandered the opportunity to develop affinity relationships with their members. In the bizarre world of health insurance two classes of members/consumers exist. Those that despise their health plan because they are filing claims and those that despise their health plan because they are not filing claims. The traditional health plan model has the plan focused on the 20% of members that are the most costly and ignoring the 80% that represent profit/cover costs. As health insurance becomes a "consumer purchase" – 1. How many member management companies need to exist? 2. How many claims processors? 3. Are there other entities that have a stronger consumer presence and are perceived differently by consumers? (Visa/Mastercard, the powerful health provider brands) 4. What is the value proposition that a health plan presents to potential retail customers? The frightening dynamic that has already swept through most industries driven by internet efficiency, better products/lower costs is now bearing down on the world of health insurance. It starts stealth-like, (ask Borders/Barnes and Noble) – at first it is mocked, then discredited and in the blink of an eye, the world has changed. While the echo chamber of an AHIP meeting may be energized by the perception of an "existential threat", just imagine facing shareholders a few years out and explaining how disruptive innovation knocked at your door, but no one answered. Brian Baum Founder/CEO vitaTrackr, Inc.

civisisus (6/18/2014 at 1:52 PM)
In this league, 1 out of 5 ain't bad, Chris. Fernandopulle is always worth paying attention to, but the notion that exchanges are skyrocketing is nonsense, and the rest of the 1st 4 "ideas" are mostly tired, recycled PR hype. A lot is happening, and a lot will happen, but only one of these 5 'idea guys' actually has any that anyone might act on.