What can we expect from health insurers in 2023? Examining 2022’s activities can provide insight into how insurers plan to compete and improve profitability in 2023. You can learn more about 2023 by examining health insurance partnerships announced in 2022. Here are four health insurance partnerships to watch in 2023:
Mark Cuban Cost Plus and Capital Blue Cross
In October of 2022, Capital Blue Cross announced that it would be the first health insurance plan in the nation to partner with Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs.
Cost Plus Drugs launched in 2022 with a unique model: It offers hundreds of generic prescription drugs and sells them at a transparent price: 15% over cost plus a $3 pharmacy fee and $5 shipping fee.
Cost Plus Drugs’ partnership with Capital Blue Cross allows Capital members to use their insurance cards at Cost Plus Drugs. Members pay Cost Plus Drugs directly and then submit a receipt to Capital Blue Cross for reimbursement or to apply the cost toward their deductible if Capital’s plan covers the drug.
Why it Matters
According to a report from Pharmaceutical Strategies Group, satisfaction with pharmacy benefit managers declined in 2022. NPS scores dropped from 38 in 2021 to 18 in 2022. Nearly a quarter of respondents were somewhat (8%) or very dissatisfied (16%) with their PBM’s transparency.
Prescription drug prices continue to soar. According to a report from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), list prices on more than 1200 prescription drugs rose faster than inflation between July 2021 and July 2022, rising on average 31.6%.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs can help fill both those niches, improving transparency while driving down prescription costs. According to Capital’s press release, consumers can save up to 80% on some of the most commonly prescribed drugs by using Cost Plus Drugs.
Similarly, Amazon Pharmacy is also making headway in the prescription drug space, becoming the exclusive provider of home prescription delivery service to more than 2 million Florida Blue members.
Centene also announced it had selected Amazon Pharmacy as a preferred retail pharmacy provider for nearly 1.5 million Medicare Advantage members in 2023.
Amazon pharmacy has also made inroads into Blues plans, with BCBS designating the pharmacy as a new option for its mail-order drug program for some plans. Amazon Pharmacy also offered a discount savings card for members in New Jersey, Nebraska, Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, and North Carolina.
Why It Matters
Amazon’s health insurance partnerships will likely simplify the consumer experience. Users can leverage their existing Amazon account, access pricing comparison information, and access free home delivery. Prime members benefit from free shipping as fast as one day. Amazon offers a shopping process familiar to many Americans, backed by Amazon’s fast distribution network.
UnitedHealthcare’s Expanded Fitness Partnerships
In September, UnitedHealthcare announced a partnership with Peloton to grant as many as 10 million commercial members access to a yearlong subscription to the Peloton App Membership or receive a three-month waiver toward an All-Access Membership. The expanded partnership granted Peloton access to organizations with a self-funded plan and fewer than 3,000 employees. Larger self-funded employers can now access Peloton via a direct arrangement with Peloton.
Later last year, UnitedHealthcare announced an expanded partnership with Life Time Fitness for approximately 10 million Medicare Advantage members. Those members will have free access to Life Time’s nearly 160 clubs in 29 states.
Why It Matters
In 2022, the average Medicare Advantage enrollee had access to 39 different plans, the most in a decade. An explosion of health plans has led insurers to create value-added partnerships – like UnitedHealthcare’s with Life Time Fitness – to make their health plans more attractive. Similarly, the Peloton partnership helps improve the competitiveness of their commercial health plans.
Insurers encourage fitness activities because they can lessen the likelihood of expensive treatments. Fitness programs as preventive care can improve a health insurer’s profitability.
Elevance Health Digital-First Maternity Health Solution
In June, Elevance Health (then still named Anthem) announced a new partnership with Happify Health designed to offer pregnant women digital access to mental health, obstetrics and gynecology experts, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals. The program will also allow members to access a new non-prescription digital therapeutic addressing mental health needs during pregnancy. Elevance made the solution available to members in specific markets near the end of 2022.
Why It Matters
Elevance Health’s investment in digital health solutions continues a trend that’s blossomed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth use exploded while the pandemic introduced the nation to the convenience of telehealth for some health needs.
But it also highlights insurers’ continued investments in behavioral health solutions. Both trends are likely to be successful and lead to increased investments in 2023 and beyond.
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