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Mercer

Raise your hand if you’ve recently had a thoroughly positive conversation about healthcare in America, like one where people were smiling and talking about how great it is. No one mentioned the soaring costs, 3-minute doctor visits, confusing bills, or any other negative experience.

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A few weeks ago, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law, allocating $6.3 billion in new spending over the next decade on medical innovation, including $1.8 billion for cancer research.  The bill also streamlines the approval process for new drugs and medical devices and includes support for Electronic Health Records, precision medicine, interoperability, and mental health. 

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This post is part of our “Driving Transformation” series, in which Mercer consultants share key take-aways for employers from the 2016 Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit, a recent conference hosted by Mercer’s sibling firm, management consultant Oliver Wyman.  

 

One idea that was explored in great depth at the conference was that the transformation of healthcare will be driven by the consumer. But how would that work when consumers don’t really speak with a single voice? Can true transformation occur when every consumer is different, with unique preferences? In fact personalized healthcare is happening already and research is showing some encouraging results.

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This post is part of our “Driving Transformation” series, in which Mercer consultants share key take-aways for employers from the 2016 Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit, a recent conference hosted by Mercer’s sibling firm, management consultant Oliver Wyman.  

 

Prepared or not, a new healthcare market is emerging. Every stakeholder group operating in the healthcare ecosystem is changing. We’re seeing the simultaneous consolidation and fragmentation of carriers and providers, continuous introduction of tech start-ups bringing entirely new design mind-sets, and tumultuous evolution of the public exchange. Employers, who play the pivotal role of providing coverage for more than 60% of all those insured in the US today, are adopting new, aggressive strategies to shape the rules of the road in the new healthcare landscape.

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In late May, Martin Senn, the former CEO of Zurich Insurance Group, took his own life just months after leaving the company. Only three years earlier, the company's former CFO, Pierre Wauthier, also committed suicide, and not long after that, so did Swisscom CEO Carsten Schloter.

 

 

 

 

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Wow, it’s June already. Kids are playing outside, the smell of barbeque is in the air, and some of us, just maybe, are feeling the onset of the innovation summertime blues. What, you’ve never heard of this particular brand of the blues? Let me paint a picture and maybe it will look familiar.

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A scan of news headlines from the past couple of months netted articles discussing genetic links to anxiety, glaucoma, weight gain, intelligence, athletics, cancer, and smoking. It’s not unimaginable that genetics could play a role in managing every aspect of our health. The trick will be figuring out how to counterbalance genetic predisposition with behavioral changes and clinical support.

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Telehealth offers health care consumers greater convenience and the chance to save money -- but it only works if the provider speaks the patient’s language. To that end, Mercer has formed an alliance with ConsejoSano to bring telehealth services to the Spanish-speaking population. ConsejoSano provides consumers with instantaneous access to Spanish-speaking doctors, mental health specialists, and nutritionists.

 

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This post is part of our “Visualizing the Future: Health Benefits in 2016 and Beyond” series, in which Mercer consultants share key take-aways for employers from “Health Market 2.0,” a recent conference hosted by Mercer’s sister firm, management consultant Oliver Wyman.  

What most caught my attention is the notion that what will make or break an innovation is not the partner you choose as much as the architecture surrounding the partner. The essential drive to innovate will clearly result in some good ideas and some not so good ideas.  A sound architecture should enable employers to plug in and take out partners without losing momentum. As one speaker commented, “Failing forward is good….failing backward isn’t.”

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Fortune ran an article “10 Big Health Care Predictions for 2016” written by two partners from venture capital firm Venrock (named most prolific VC on Rock Health’s list of the Top 50 in Digital Health Entrepreneurs).

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The long Labor Day week-end is in sight, and summer is quickly becoming a memory. Many of you are getting down to the wire on 2016 benefits decisions. Will 2016 be a year for big change? After all, we are closing in on the effective date for the excise tax on high-cost plans in 2018 … or are we? Some are holding out, as they have with other ACA milestones, in hopes that the Cadillac tax will be repealed. All the while, plan sponsors (and their advisors) remain actively engaged in the quest to find the perfect balance between cost, quality, and member engagement.

 

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