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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.  

 

The potential impact of Health Market 2.0 on employers is significant. It points the way to a leading-edge engagement ecosystem -- one with a set of programs and personalized offerings that are aligned to the needs of multiple generations with vastly different expectations of how things should work. Millennials, Gen X-Y, and especially retirees (as some of the heaviest health care consumers) each need the right mix of offerings, and each wants to access health care and health resources on their own terms.  What struck me the most at the conference was a “Hassle Map” from the plan member perspective, which vividly demonstrated how complex accessing the health care system has become as we move toward this transformed version of the health market. It’s a good reminder that we all need to think more holistically about the impact of Health Market 2.0 on employer programs and total rewards. A few specific points to keep in mind:

 

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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.  

 

The convenience factor is undeniable, but will consumers (employees) be comfortable with the retail setting for quality preventive and primary care? If so, and even if Gen X and Millennials adopt this first, does it represent an opportunity to rethink plan design in such a way as to maximize value from the retail health setting, reduce overall benefit value, and focus on catastrophic coverage once you enter the traditional ecosystem?

 

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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.  

 

During a session on provider quality transparency for consumers, I was disturbed to learn that two vendors in the space who had representatives at the conference base their quality data on consumer feedback, similar to online Yelp reviews. While there’s an important place for that data, it is not a measure of quality but of customer satisfaction. Given the relatively poor job the cost/quality transparency companies have done on the quality assessment side, it is easy to understand how this consumer data has come to fill the void. However, with the release of the CMS data set and inferential attribution tools, we are seeing very sophisticated quality assessment tools beginning to emerge that can meaningfully distinguish quality among providers.

 

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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.

 

While the relationship of customer satisfaction (as measured by net promoter score, or NPS) and business success (as measured by earnings per share, or EPS) was presented in the context of health care providers, there’s an interesting parallel for employers. We know from Mercer’s Inside Employees' Minds survey that even with employees being asked to pay more for health care, benefits make employees feel valued. Yet two out of five US workers are seriously considering leaving, including many who are very satisfied with their jobs and organizations. How can employers create a consumer-grade health care experience and benefit offering that serves as a recruiting and retention magnet? Employees -- who are consumers of health and wellness in the public marketplace -- are being increasingly exposed to health care experiences that are convenient, highly personalized, and simple, which raises the bar and creates a more discerning healthcare consumer.

 

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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.  

 

As we work on educating employers to become better health care consumers, we need to keep in mind a fact so obvious that it’s easy to miss. Ready or not, consumers are already driving market transformation -– and the fact that they generally have little health care literacy is shaping the new health care marketplace, spurring the development of solutions to simplify and streamline decision-making and interactions. Employers that put off addressing engagement and consumerism may find themselves at a disadvantage in recruiting and retaining employees.

 

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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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