At this year’s Health 2.0 event, Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, gave a very positive outlook for the future of health insurance in his company as a result of the current and upcoming changes to the healthcare system in the United States.
The reason is that the insurer has reinvented itself by providing a unique healthtech startup company exit opportunity after having made more than $1.5 billion in acquisitions in 2011. Those acquired companies are playing an important role in assisting healthcare organizations to make their first steps into the value/outcome-based generation from their previous position in the generation of “do more, bill more.”
This strategy is much different from the way in which most health insurance companies are proceeding, without any decisive action even though the writing is on the wall. Though some moves are being made, they are nowhere near the complete rethink that Aetna has undergone.
Bertolini explained that, to a growing extent, Aetna sees itself as a healthIT organization that has an insurance element. To many, this is a surprising definition, considering that it is one of the biggest health insurance corporations in the country.
From an outside perspective, there are a few apparent drivers for Aetna’s behaviors:
• The capping of profits from traditional health insurance business, leading them to seek unregulated complementary businesses;
• Using traditional provider and employer channels aren’t allowing them to gain access to their complete target market;
• New methods to reach the consumer need to be established;
• The skill set to take advantage of the consumer-driven marketplace that healthcare is becoming must be either acquired or built.