Do you have a working crystal ball?

Neither do we…or anyone we’ve met to date.

And yet, we all seem compelled to make predictions for the coming year.

We found quite a few folks willing to make health care predictions for 2015
(feel free to Google “healthcare predictions for 2015”).

The most compelling article we found was published just a few days ago by Julie Papanek on TechCrunch.
How many do you agree with?

1. Walmart Becomes a HealthCare Insurer. Say What? Well, apparently Walmart recently launched its own online health insurance exchange. And, accordig to Papanek’s prediction:

“Primary care through retail clinics and $4 generic drugs at the pharmacy will drive traffic into stores. For specialty care, the plan will leverage the Centers of Excellence program that Walmart already offers to its 1.2 million insured employees. In this program, consumers pay little to nothing out-of-pocket for knee, hip surgery, and cancer treatment if they go to a short list of high-quality medical centers like Mayo, the Cleveland Clinic, Mercy and Geisinger.

“With a store within five miles of 95 percent of all Americans and retail transactional data from its consumers, Walmart can provided tailored population health services and incentivize healthier shopping decisions to prevent diabetes and heart disease.”

2. Pharmaceutical Manufacturers will Partner with Tech Startups. According to Papanek, many doctors refuse to see pharmaceutical reps in their offices. Hence the increase in ads directed at consumers:

” …customer awareness and engagement is ripe for tech companies, particularly those focused on social media, mobile advertising and video….Suddenly, these corporations have large eMarketing teams and VPs of digital health. We are seeing CIOs from companies like Dell working at Merck.”

3. Amazon to Undercut the Medical Supply Chain. This one’s not so hard to imagine, right?!

“While medical professionals and business managers will be driven by price and convenience, Amazon’s motivations will be financial. General surgical supply company Owens & Minor generated $9 billion in annual revenue last year. Amazon isn’t known for letting glaring business opportunities go untouched, especially those that can move its stock price.”

4. Peer-to-Peer Lending will be Used for the Majority of Medical Expenses in the U.S. Ok, Papanek, this is a more complicated so thanks for explaining it so well:

“Many consumers are able and willing to pay their medical bills, they just can’t do it all at once. Peer-to-peer lending companies have paved the way for unsecured structure notes, where an individual’s loan can be financed by others. These have shown impressive growth. Peer-to-peer lending is already being used to finance plastic surgery and other cash-pay procedures. Now it could be used for the majority of medical expenses in the U.S.”

5. Latinos Become the Most Desired Healthcare Segment in the U.S. As Papanek correctly points out:

“There are 54 million Latinos living in the United States, constituting 17 percent of the population. Politicians have taken notice and are paying attention to Latinos as an important voting demographic. Healthcare providers are beginning to do so, too.

“Latinos have been disenfranchised by the U.S. healthcare system because of legal status, English language skills and financial constraints. Fewer than 4 percent of healthcare providers speak Spanish and most do not know how to approach the cultural and economic diversity within the Latino population. Even native English speakers can’t make sense of PPOs vs. HMOs. As a result, Latinos are 1 out of every 5 uninsured individuals in the U.S. and leverage healthcare services differently than other demographic cohorts.

“As hospitals compete for volume, they cannot ignore 1 out of 5 Americans. In order to win the loyalty of this untapped customer segment, we will see Latino-branded services with evening and weekend hours to serve dual-income families.”

Weigh in please: which do you hope comes true? Which do you fear? Do you have a prediction you expected to see and don’t? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Let’s look back a year from now and see how we all did!

And, in case you’re wondering, yes, we can still help you with your health insurance needs. Call us at 877.789.5831 or complete the confidential form below and one of our experts will be in touch with you right away!

Happy New Year to You All!

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