2019 promises to be a big year for healthcare. The 2020 election is rapidly approaching, industry leaders are continuing to make moves in the healthcare industry. Hot topic issues like Medicare Advantage, health plans (otherwise known as carriers or payers) providing care solutions, and value-based care are on everyone’s minds. We expect 2019’s major trends to revolve around themes of better value, primary care, and digital services.
To see how those themes might play out, we compiled a list of our top 5 trends to watch for in 2019.
Trends to watch for in 2019
Payer-provider solution growth
“Whether it’s through one entity or partnerships, payer-provider is really about combining data and delivery, and that makes a lot of sense,” says Vera CEO, Ryan Schmid.
The interest in payer-provider solutions is driven mainly by a broader move to create value. People expect high quality for less money, and the industry is listening. The merger between CVS Health and Aetna showcase the type of creative payer-provider solutions that we can expect to see more of in 2019.
More to come with medicare advantage
Better value will also drive up interest in Medicare Advantage plans, driven not just by millennials but by an overall increase in consumerism. People want better customer service, and Medicare Advantage plans offer that through tech-savvy health services with a quality primary care provider (PCP) relationship. But, there are also significant financial incentives from a payer-provider perspective. This combination of increased demand from both sides should expand Medicare Advantage plan offerings.
Single payer driving debates
Expect to hear a lot about single payer as we move closer to the 2020 election. While we don’t expect single payer to happen, we do believe it will add fuel to the discussion about risk-bearing contracts, including more Medicare Advantage plans.
Better outcomes with more behavioral health
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Constitution of the World Health Organization, 1946
It took more than 70 years, but we’re finally starting to see the World Health Organization's (WHO’s) 1946 guidelines put into practice. An emphasis on behavioral health will grow, especially as a treatment for things like the opioid crisis. Schmid notes, “We’re really at a tipping point with more attention being paid to behavioral health. There’s been a massive disconnect between mind and body, and that’s finally changing. People recognize that if we invest more in behavioral health, we can reduce costs in the long run.”
Digitization of care and possible consequences
We see the increasing digitization of care as mainly a supply problem. The idea that millennials are choosing telehealth services because they don’t see the need for a PCP relationship is “an indictment on our current healthcare system,” says Schmid. We believe dedicated care teams are an essential part of any healthcare solution. Moving away from those relationships will only create problems further down the road, especially as generations who come to rely on digital health services start to develop more serious health problems in 15-20 years.
There’s an opportunity with the digitization of care to combine it with an actual care team for better care management, but it can’t be used as an all-encompassing replacement.
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