As the financial dynamics of the healthcare industry have become increasingly challenging, much of the healthcare insurance industry has defined its strategic response as doing what it’s always done, but for less. Insurers have gotten tougher in negotiations with providers and employers in order to pay for less. And repeated internal cost cutting efforts have come and gone, usually with limited long-term impact and often contributing to an increasingly cynical and jaded work force (with a predictable negative effect on customer service).

To get off this cost cutting spiral — which isn’t much help in winning and keeping customers — healthcare insurers need to redefine the business they are in. While there is no single solution or model that guarantees success, it’s clearly time for some out-of-the-box thinking.

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