Alternative providers are making moves into the US healthcare market, which could be seen as either a threat or an opportunity for partnership by the insurance industry, according to GlobalData Financial Services.
The insurance industry has been nervously tracking alternative providers such as Google, Amazon, and Apple in the belief they might enter the insurance market.
It was not certain in which area of insurance they would make their entry or when it would occur. However, over the last few months it has become increasingly clear that the tech giants are indeed targeting the US healthcare market.
Amazon announced its collaboration with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan to create a healthcare company to serve its US employees.
Apple updated its health app, enabling US customers to see their medical records such as allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures, and vitals on their phones. This was designed to facilitate the relationship between customers and medical centers. Apple already has a range of wearable tech: the Apple Watch.
A month after Amazon’s announcement, Apple announced that it is preparing to launch a network of “AC Wellness” medical clinics for its employees and their families in spring 2018.
Google’s sister company Verily has reportedly been in talks with insurers bidding for health insurance contracts. Notably, in 2016 the company proposed a joint venture with Oscar Health.
The race into US healthcare among alternative providers has truly begun, but each has a different approach.
Amazon has opted to tackle the healthcare market using its power as a large US employer to drive market change, such as lowering healthcare costs and improving services for employees.
Apple seems to be concentrating on creating a more connected service between customers and healthcare providers. It is positioning itself as a potential partner for healthcare providers and healthcare insurers.
Google, which is still feeling out the market, is looking for partnerships. It may likely see itself in the role of an insurance distributor.
Alternative providers are highly influential brands, have masses of consumer data and resources, and are known for providing exceptional customer experiences. While they are seen as a threat, partnering with these providers could also be an opportunity for the insurance industry.