A senior executive at global software company Civica has given some predictions on how private health insurers can use technology to enhance the value of their products in 2021.
Vinay Chand is managing director for Health Solutions at Civica Asia Pacific.
Mr Chand said the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the challenge private health insurers face in balancing the pressure of increasing costs with the need to provide value to customers.
"To improve value, health funds must have the cloud-based tools in place to receive, analyse and respond to customer feedback in real-time," he said.
"Prioritising customer feedback will enable insurers to capture and remedy potential systemic issues, while gaining further insight into existing ones so that root causes can be addressed.
"These tools can also provide value for members by providing them with real-time access on their available funds – from how much benefit an individual has left to claim to preferred health care providers with smaller gaps."
Mr Chand said one of the "biggest untapped opportunities" to improve the perceived value of private health insurance is to continue the move away from the customer as the source of a claim.
He said, "We’re already seeing health insurers engage with members for preventative healthcare from healthy recipes to use of technology such as smartwatches to recommendations for positive lifestyle changes. However, more can be done in the shift towards holistic healthcare with health funds being able to provide benefits such as gym membership for example."
Mr Chand said the use of cloud-based tools has the potential to enable quicker and cheaper innovation.
"For example, technological innovation will enable private health funds to not only capture and record customer feedback and complaints, but also undertake analysis, looking at trends and addressing and analysing feedback in real time.
"A tool like natural language processing, for example, which identifies and picks up on certain key words, can raise red flags before they become larger issues. It can also support insurers finding new ways to meet the customer experience expectations of their customers, highlighting problem areas and opportunities for new service/product development."
Mr Chand added, "By shifting to the cloud, health insurers can also gain access to technologies that help to drive efficiencies by providing real-time approval on claim payments, expediting the time it takes to process claims so that members can receive funds instantly. This will facilitate an improved member experience."