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How Health Insurers Can Create Remarkable Experiences in a Rapidly Changing Industry

Opinion
Article

The health industry is changing rapidly, and organizations that don’t adapt are going the way of the Model T. By offering new solutions and capabilities, successful organizations are supporting their customers with whole-person, full-journey care.

Deb Rice-Johnson

Deb Rice-Johnson

Highmark has served generations of families and communities through the best and most challenging moments in their lives. We are driven by our mission: to create a remarkable health experience, freeing people to be their best.

That mission has remained our constant through the years. But, suffice it to say, the world has changed since we started. We have electric cars, not Model Ts. Smartphones, not rotary phones. Companies that succeed over the long run must adapt to changing times. Our customers’ needs and expectations have transformed, and so have we.

Traditional health insurers face myriad challenges in 2024, from shifting consumer preferences, to new competitors, to technological revolution. Customers expect a seamless, high-tech and integrated experience that combines health coverage and care. Nonprofit health insurers are also competing against national carriers with significant resources, not to mention tech and customer service-savvy disruptors. How can insurers facing these headwinds meet the moment?

At Highmark, we have adapted by diversifying and developing new market-leading capabilities. In addition to our bread-and-butter health insurance products, we created a more integrated experience for customers by offering one of the nation's largest dentist networks and industry-leading discounts (through United Concordia Dental); post-acute care with more than $100 million in medical cost savings through reduced readmissions and improved health outcomes (called Helion); a technology platform serving more than nine million Blue Cross Blue Shield members across the country (enGen); stop-loss insurance that has saved clients more than $70 million from cost containment practices (HM Insurance Group); and third-party administrative services that help self-insured employers control the health plan and products they offer their employees.

We have also developed experience in helping organizations increase prescription drug access while managing costs, as well as analytical, customer service and health policy insights that have driven us to enter new markets and grow our health insurance membership.

These diversified business capabilities, now under the unified banner of Alloyed Works, have allowed us to capitalize on the opportunity to reimagine the healthcare experience to become one that is simplified, personalized and proactive. We have boosted healthcare affordability and accessibility, better engaged members and clinicians, and continued a legacy of community-oriented service.

We started as a traditional health insurance company. By the mid-1990s, our annual revenue was around $2.3 billion. Today, we are a $27 billion enterprise that touches and improves tens of millions of lives across the country, and that invested more than $225 million this past year in charity and uncompensated care and corporate giving.

With the capabilities of Alloyed Works, we are also proudly working with health organizations throughout the U.S. to accomplish similar improvements in customer experience, care quality, access, and health outcomes.

The health industry is rapidly changing, and organizations that don’t adapt are going the way of the Model T. Today’s customer wants a holistic, simplified and tailor-made experience. By offering new solutions and capabilities, successful organizations are supporting their customers with whole-person, full-journey care while also achieving the kind of scale required to transform and invest in the health at an entirely different level. By diversifying, health insurers can create truly remarkable experiences and better serve their members, patients and communities for generations to come.

Deb Rice-Johnson is CEO of Diversified Businesses and chief growth officer for Highmark Inc.

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