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Individual Health Insurance Markets That Work, Part One

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, November 13, 2013

After a trip to Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia, the chief marketing officer of a Massachusetts payer discusses success factors for the direct-to-consumer markets she observed in her travels.


Gordon


Debbie Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer, Network Health

Back in July, Deborah Gordon, vice president of business development and chief marketing officer for Medford, MA-based Network Health, a nonprofit health plan covering 215,000 state residents, set out for Singapore to find what she could learn from their experience with consumerism in the health insurance market.

As the recipient of one of nine 2013 U.S. Eisenhower Fellowships, Gordon also traveled to two other countries, Australia and New Zealand, to continue studying her chosen topic, consumer empowerment in healthcare, over the five-week fellowship period.

Now that she's back, Gordon says the biggest lessons she learned about how consumers bought health insurance came not from Singapore, but from Australia.

HLM: What were the big takeaways for you after visiting Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia?

Gordon: I learned so many things. One, all health systems are in transition. The premise of my trip was that the U.S. is on the precipice of a major transformation in many ways between the market forces, the ACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), and the cost pressures that we're facing in the industry.

I thought, 'I'm going to go to some of the world's best performing health systems to see what they have figured out.' And while I was there, I realized that they, too, were at points of transition. All systems are in transition, and the best ones move on purpose. They're constantly looking for ways to improve to adapt to new conditions and new challenges.

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