What’s in a name? A more diverse member, America’s Health Insurance Plans hope.
After nearly two decades, the Washington DC-based power has been rebranded and will simply be known as the AHIP, with the renewal coming at a time when the traditional health insurance business has been transformed by taking only the risk to the health of individuals to provide direct, social care. services, technology products and much more.
“We are champions of care, leading to greater health. This is our mission and it is central to the work that health insurance providers do every day. After a year full of unprecedented challenges and losses, and in a moment where reliable healthcare coverage has never been more important, AHIP aligns our brand with our mission, our work and the communities we serve, ”CEO Matt Eyles said in a statement. “Today we are changing not only how we describe our work, but how people think about the role of health insurance providers in their lives, from making coverage and care more accessible to breaking down barriers to good health. .This will help us create more impact with the work we do. ”
The name change also reflects the attitude of many of its member companies – who thus happen to provide insurance coverage – asking for pleasure to be called something else. And it could allow the industrial organization to represent a wider audience, said Ari Gottlieb, a health analyst in Chicago.
“I think it reflects a broader view that with changing risk for providers and other entities that carry risks, health insurance is significantly broader than what people traditionally think of health insurance,” Gottlieb wrote in an email. . “It changes the brand to reflect that it opens up greater participation from other healthcare players, such as providers who take risks under Direct Contract.”
During his investor day in February, for example, Anthem CEO Gail Boudreaux launched the event by saying “the traditional insurance company we were in has given way to the digital health platform we are becoming.” , meaning one of the largest health insurers in the country is seen as a digital health company. Alignment Healthcare, a Medicare Advantage startup based in Orange, California, prefers the term “payvider” rather than insurtech, since it employs its doctors. And, CareSource has published announcements boasting that the company’s investment in Dayton, Ohio, in the social determinants of health, makes it “much more than a health insurer”.
A chain of consolidations and mergers over the past few decades has blurred the lines between the payer, the provider and the technology service, said Adam Block, a New York economist and assistant professor of public health at New York Medical College, adding that most companies can traditionally think that health insurers are actually third-party managers or group health plans – only 30% of the health insurance market is through fully insured commercial insurance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this shift in new lines of activity, with more insurers investing in benefits around the social determinants of health, such as providing members access to nutritious food or transportation, as a way to avoid slipping into too high medical loss ratios. MLRs essentially measure the amount of every dollar an insurer spends on member care. AHIP’s updated mission reflects this trend, with its new charge emphasizing its members ’focus on health equity, innovations in health technology, and addressing the social determinants of health. The updated mission could be a move to increase the public perception of health insurers, Block said, announcing that newer companies could try to get rid of the entire insurance label, and avoid the negative connotation. An AHIP spokesman said the change was in no way intended to distract from the fact that the organization serves health insurance providers.
“We are and will always be proud to represent the people who work in health insurance,” said AHIP spokesman David Allen.
The insurers ’investment in social determinants of health has not yet paid off in public opinion court.
U 2021 Edelman Global Trust Index He noted that the pandemic has caused insurers ’perceptions to report even higher, with U.S. respondents’ confidence in health insurers falling by four percentage points in 2020, with most saying they “challenge “of its service providers. As consumers have deferred care, health insurers have gained a reputation for benefiting from the pandemic, even though costs at the end of the year are generally uniform for taxpayers. Investment in new types of benefits could represent a turning point for some insurers, Block said, although ultimately payers will have to continue the practice of approving — and denying — claims.
“That’s not going to change fundamentally,” Block said. “The brand change, for me, is just a temporary fix. But someone has to say no to a claim. It’s just how the system works.”