By: Dr. Vikram Jit Singh Chhatwal, Chairman, Medi Assist
A new year is great time for R & R of a different kind for me – reflection and reinforcement. Reflection on the year gone by and reinforcement of goals and strategies for the future. My R&R exercise this year-end left me feeling very excited.
The Indian healthcare industry is at the cusp of transformation. Indians, with steadily rising disposable incomes, are demanding access to better healthcare at affordable costs. There is growing awareness about the benefits of health insurance even among young Indians. Technology is driving innovation in delivery of quality healthcare. And mobility is changing the way people connect with providers and consume healthcare services.
The future belongs to those who can connect these dots and provide not just wining solutions, but a superior and seamless consumer experience around healthcare.
Health insurance as a hedge against rising costs
Several companies offer group medical cover to employees and their families. More and more Indians today are investing in retail health insurance policies to counter the rising cost of healthcare. Cashless hospitalization continues to be the primary convenience offered by health insurance policies.
At Medi Assist, we realised that bringing about innovation in delivery of cashless services can go a long way in increasing utilization of services. This led to the introduction of eCashless, a service that allows our members to obtain a provisional preauthorization for cashless hospitalization from the comfort of their home. With eCashless, our members are able to reduce wait time for preauthorization by as much as 90% !
Mobile as the gateway
The concept of planned hospitalization, that allows us to reduce the overall cost of care for our members and also arrange for green channel admission at the network hospital, has been around for a long time now. However, the industry has seen limited success in driving planned hospitalization. Customers are loathe to remember a call centre number, proactively call a support agent and then wait for their request to be actioned.
We realised that in order to increase adherence to planned hospitalization, we had to find a way for this service to reside where the rest of our members’ lives revolve – their mobile phone. As a result, we made eCashless a mobile-first feature, where our members can use our MediBuddy mobile app to plan a cashless hospitalization. No calls, no mails, just a touch on their mobile phone is all it takes.
Move towards managed care
Even in the case of cashless hospitalization, there are expenses, such as co-pay component or pre- and post-hospitalization expenses, which must be borne by members. In a typical preauthorization scenario, members have little or no visibility into the possible cost of treatment and the associated out-of-pocket expenses. This leads to anxious moments at the time of preauthorization.
At Medi Assist, we’ve realised that giving our members greater visibility into cost of care can go a long way in helping them take a more holistic view of their overall medical spend. eCashless gives members the estimated cost of treatment much ahead of date of admission, thus helping them plan every aspect of their hospitalization. We are evolving into a managed care organization that helps members make the most optimal use of their insurance coverage as well as out-of-pocket expenses.
This new year is all about putting our learnings into action. First, by putting the focus back on our member, and second, by evangelizing more concepts like eCashless that truly simplify access and amplify consumer experience.