The health care market is getting more and more complicated. More than $4 billion has been invested in digital health in each of the past two years and investment activity remains strong in 2016. Just keeping up with all the latest developments is challenging, never mind the work required to evaluate solutions, decide what to implement, and then communicate and manage them. Conversely, we continue to see consolidation in the market -- health plans, PBMs, and health systems are consolidating and developing ACOs. Fewer choices and more choices all at the same time.
Enter consumers, who are feeling the demands of being given more responsibility and having to sort through all the tools being thrown at them to help them become better shoppers. The only problem is that shopping for health care is not like shopping for a flat screen TV or for a car. Besides the complexity of understanding the specifics of the care you are shopping for, the variation in cost can be unbelievable (for example, the price for a knee replacement in the US ranges from $18k to $57k or more). Further, studies show that many think health care that is more expensive is better quality. In short, we have not yet perfected the health care shopping experience. And yet, at the same time, consumer expectations are rising. We have evolved into a culture that expects to find the answer to everything on our phones -- either Google it or ask Siri.
Is there a better answer? What if you could build a program that would help your employees live healthier lives, simplify the health care experience and save money? What if someone had already built it -- would you buy it? As health care becomes more complicated, do you have the bandwidth to evaluate every new invention? Employers are giving serious consideration to delegated solutions. Recent articles have claimed growth in private exchanges has fallen short of expectations, yet between 2015 and 2017 the percentage of large employers offering an exchange for their active employees is expected to double (from 3% to 6%) and an additional 27% say they are considering moving to an exchange within 5 years. So I’m not sure I agree that activity has fallen short of expectations -- especially considering that a lot has been learned from the first-generation programs. I agree with NBCH's new CEO, Michael Thompson, and his comment in a recent EBN interview. The proof of the approach is in what happens next. We have been able to exceed the financial expectations of our clients who have signed on to Mercer Marketplace. We are ready with next-generation features. Why not give us a look?