In the last two decades,there has been a steady increase in the number of people who are affected by chronic illness such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer and diabetes. This is mainly due to increased pollution, unhealthy lifestyle choices, and increasing mental health issues. Health insurance is important now, way more than ever. Technology that is making everything easier and efficient is revolutionising the insurance industry too. Everything from applying till reimbursement can be done over call or via the internet. Here are some ways in which technology is reshaping health insurances.

1. Social Media:

Social Media has taken over all our lives. We are constantly uploading information regarding our personal life to social media. Insurers can access this information which might give them an insight into various aspects of the client’s life such as alcohol consumption levels, smoking habits, food choices and expenditure patterns. Service providers can use this data to suggest suitable health insurance plans as one’s health depends to a great extent on their way of life.

Health insurance companies can also use the social media platform to create awareness among customers, increase payer-provider interaction and improve customer engagement.

2. Wearable technology:

Starting from Fitbit to Apple smartwatches, wearable technology has become a common accessory like phones and watches in our day to day life. Almost everyone who exercises on a regular basis uses wearable tech. It can be used to track a person’s heart rate, pulse, mobility, sleep-wake cycle, and many more. The data collected from these devices can be used to provide incentives to the client. Many health insurers are using tasks completed with wearable tech to provide discounts or reductions in premium cost. 

Health insurance companies can also partner with healthcare providers, and analyse the real-time data collected from clients to suggest improved health  practices, schedule check-ups, and predict the possible onset of illnesses.

3. AI and RPA:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) have been mainly used to enhance customer experience. The AI can use pre-fed information to suggest services to customers, claims adjudication and claims processing. An AI or RPA can be useful in customer data analysis for effective health management through automated conversations to encourage the development of healthy behavioural practices and early risk identification. This will ensure round-the-clock services, increased accuracy and efficiency of services, and valuable use of human resources.   

4. Blockchain:

Blockchain is not only used for Bitcoin, but is also being experimented with in the hospitals. Blockchain might be the one-stop shop for tracking a patient’s health history. The patient’s history and health records are maintained by their regular doctor. But when a person is taken to a different doctor due to an emergency or any other reason, would have to struggle for longer to get the suitable kind of treatment due to the lack of their medical history. This can lead to poor medication referrals, longer in-patient stays when hospitalised, and readmission in several cases. All this can be avoided when the health system keeps track of all the patient’s medical history via the blockchain. This can lead to effective treatment, and the reduced treatment period can be highly profitable for insurers. The insurers can also access this medical history to remind patients of their follow-up appointments, identify possible health threats in advance, and to suggest a better lifestyle.

All this can save a lot of time and money for both the provider and the payer. The money saved can be used to cover wider health care options. As most health insurances only cover therapy costs in case of serious mental health issues, the new plans can include therapy for common mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. They can also cover online therapy, which costs a lot less than clinical therapy and counseling. Health insurance companies can also partner with mental health apps to track the customer’s mental well being, and offer discounts or rewards for practicing better mental well being. Hopefully, affordable health care will no longer be a dream, but our reality. For more information, read