As our Numerof 2018 US Health Insurance Outlook infographic illustrates, this year’s story for health insurance will be about dramatically changing roles and relationships. You’ll engage in new and different ways with providers, consumers, employers, regulators, medical device makers and pharmaceutical manufacturers. All this will come in the context of continued political and legislative uncertainty.

Competition will intensify, with new entrants (including delivery organizations) and new insurance products coming to market. As deductibles and copays increase, more consumers will become healthcare shoppers seeking transparency and competitive prices. Consumer participation in public and private exchanges will also elevate their role as the industry’s direct customer. Meanwhile, employers seeking better outcomes at lower cost will engage in more direct contracting for bundled services in areas such as orthopedics, oncology and cardiac care, or even for all care on a PMPM basis.

For hospital systems and IDNs, new alliance, network and support service combinations will change the face of consolidation. There will also be greater openness to new payment models, risk assumption and alliances with payers and employers. Increasing physician employment and growing access will put more pressure on network adequacy.

Tensions with pharmaceutical manufacturers over high priced drugs will continue, creating openings for new formulary and pricing approaches. Nevertheless, opportunities for collaboration in areas such as data sharing and risk-based contracting will grow for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers alike.

Given this outlook, what’s next? We recommend these key action steps:

At Numerof & Associates, we support health insurance companies in achieving these key action steps for success in today’s evolving healthcare landscape. From competitive strategy and alliance development to implementation of new payment and network models, we have solutions. Read more about our perspectives and solutions for healthcare insurance and see our case studies.

Need critical insights across the healthcare sector? Check out our 2018 outlook infographics for healthcare deliverymedical devices and diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals.