As the disruption of Covid-19 dies down and we continue to learn to live with the virus, we are now in a better position to look forward and build for the next decade, taking stock of changes that we've seen over the past two years.
People today want much more than just access to onward treatment from their healthcare provider. With health and wellbeing in the spotlight alongside the rapid rise of digital pathways, we've seen the reassessment of what can - and should - be delivered by health insurers.
As a result, what we're seeing is the evolution of private medical insurance (PMI), with customers - and intermediaries too - expecting support to be available at every stage of the client journey - from prevention through to access to state-of-the-art treatment and support before, during and after care.
"We've witnessed rapid innovation and almost unrecognisable adaptation in the face of unforeseen challenges," Dr Keith Klintworth, VitalityHealth
Prevention is better than claim
As we explore in our first ever Health Claims Insights Report, correlations between lifestyle behaviour and improved health outcomes cannot be refuted - a trend reflected strongly in our own data - and this not only benefits PMI customers themselves, but as an insurer and society as a whole. Advisers too can reap rewards by delivering new levels of value to clients.
In the current environment especially, incentivising positive lifestyle choices, generating greater health awareness and providing access to timely and appropriate screening tests is more relevant than ever.
The digital revolution
As a result of the pandemic, we've witnessed widespread innovation within telemedicine which is speeding up and improving the member experience. There is increasing demand for care requests online, while more claims journeys, appointment bookings and consultations are taking place digitally.
The way patients are accessing and navigating the healthcare system has also moved on radically. In the past, customer journeys relied almost exclusively on NHS GP referrals and phone calls to insurers. However, more recently, we've seen demand for private virtual GPs, self-referrals and directional care pathways increase significantly.
Over the past 12 months, we've witnessed a significant increase in the number of users of our digital claims service, Care Hub. It now sees 35,000 unique visitors per month and approximately 50% of members are using it to request care, while others make use of other functionality including the ability to view their condition history, plan details and excess.
We saw over 100,000 virtual healthcare consultations in 2021, with 80% of Talking Therapy taking place online and 60% of physiotherapy care via a digital triage journey.
As a result, we're seeing earlier intervention, through better access to both in-person and remote screenings, alongside the promotion of healthier choices in a way that is genuinely improving patient outcomes.
In our Health Claims Insights Report, we explore how PMI is evolving and demonstrate how Vitality's Shared Value approach is playing a key role in transforming the health insurance market.
It explores a range of cutting-edge industry movements based on Vitality data during 2021, spanning member lifestyle behaviour and the role of prevention in health insurance, alongside service uptake across primary care, mental health, cancer cover advancements and much more.
To bring attention to the unique insights included in the report alongside wider trends, we've teamed up with COVER to explore the Future of Health Insurance… now via a designated content hub.
This post is funded by VitalityHealth