HRA plan providers, Clarity Benefit Solutions, shares five health insurance trends to watch.
The healthcare industry has been in a state of flux for the past several years due to an uncertain political climate combined with controversy over the future of Obamacare. Despite these challenges, there are some emerging trends to take notice of. Here are five points to pay close attention to.
- The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
Thankfully, AI initiatives will serve to enhance—rather than replace—human efforts. AI technology can eliminate repetitive tasks that humans must perform, freeing them up to provide top-notch medical care. AI tools can serve to automate processes, analyze data, and even recommend specific treatments.
- Increase in healthcare mergers and acquisitions.
This has been a particularly challenging transition, especially when it comes to smaller medical practices and hospitals. While consolidation of this sort may increase efficiencies and ease the supply chain burden, it also will most likely result in increasing medical costs.
- Gaining access to 24/7 healthcare.
While these higher costs may be a burden for many, a positive health insurance trend is the emergence of access to healthcare 24/7. Urgent care facilities offer extended hours and additional staff—offering an alternative to long wait times at hospital emergency rooms. Many of these facilities are equipped with X-ray and MRI equipment so patients can be properly assessed and treated. Even though utilizing these services may be more expensive, the convenience cannot be beat, especially for those who cannot afford to be out of the office
- The rising popularity of telemedicine.
This is also a by-product of consumer demand. Patients and doctors can be connected remotely via virtual visits—two-way video calls—to diagnose and treat more common, less serious medical conditions. Not only does this mean that doctors can spend more time caring for patients face-to-face rather than engaging in telephone tag, it also frees up their office time to treat patients with more urgent medical conditions.
- The health industry is contending with staffing shortages.
Approximately half of all registered nurses are 50 years or older, according to a recent report, which also cites about half of doctors as being 55 or older. Combine these statistics with the fact that the population as a whole is aging, it is vital that the industry address this issue before problems arise.
As the new year approaches, it will be important to keep these trends in mind as your company grows and adapts to changes in the health insurance industry.