Frank Diamond

Managing Editor

Stories about underdogs (David and Goliath, Rocky, the 1969 Mets, the 2008 Barack Obama) are as much about overconfidence as they are about confidence. Yes, the challenger is scrappy. The favorite, on the other hand, needs just enough hubris to make his or her downfall ensure that the lesson resonates with every would-be David and Goliath — and in its entirety because we all have a little of each in us.

Many insurers want to participate in health benefit exchanges, one of the bedrocks of the Affordable Care Act. We’ve been following this at Managed Care. See, for example, here (http://tinyurl.com/Carroll-Exchanges), here (http://tinyurl.com/gov-exchanges), and here (http://tinyurl.com/vision-exchanges).

Of course, in the exchanges, insurers won’t face just one antagonist but a whole marketplace full. It might be enough to give them pause and, in fact, it may have. They’re still confident, though, according to a recent survey by KPMG, the audit, tax, and consulting company. Take a look:

Assuming your organization’s participation, how confident are you in your management’s ability to successfully participate in an exchange?








Option

Number of organizations

Percent

Not at all confident

3

3%

Somewhat confident

20

22%

Confident

39

42%

Very confident

15

16%

Not applicable

16

17%

I suppose that’s the attitude an organization needs when it’s about to step into the unknown. Perhaps it’s because they feel they have implementation under control.

By when do you expect your organization to start marketing and delivering products that are consumer-focused?







We are doing this now

37%

Within 6 to 12 months

33%

Over 1 year from now

0

Don’t know

10%

Not applicable

21%

As KPMG notes, success will mean “transforming their marketing efforts from a business-to-business focus to a business-to-customer focus.” That’s not the only concern and while insurers — and about two thirds of KPMG respondents are commercial health plans — may be confident, they’re not blind to the challenges.

What is the biggest challenge in building out a customer-centric organization?









Culture

10%

People/skill set

7%

Technology

17%

Senior level buy-in

2%

Budget

3%

All of the above

58%

None of the above

3%

That 58 percent say “all of the above” to this question might signal, again, the level of effort and focus being displayed. Or, to a more skeptical viewer, it might — just might — suggest that organizations are scurrying about in a bit of a panic. Please, weigh in.

Frank Diamond, Managing Editor

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Shelley Slade
Vogel, Slade & Goldstein

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More companies are self-insuring—and it’s not just large employers that are striking out on their own. The percentage of employers who fully self-insure increased by 44% in 1999 to 63% in 2015. Self-insurance may give employers more control over benefit packages, and stop-loss protects them against uncapped liability.