Aetna CEO says Health Care Costs Are Out of Control

(Bloomberg) — Medical expenses remain out of control in the U.S., where Americans have an “unsustainable attitude” that ignores the increasing cost of health care, the chief executive officer of insurer Aetna Inc. said.

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Comments (1)
Healthcare exists to serve consumers. We are finally waking up to that reality. "Consumers" have now been conditioned to "experiences". Say "Amazon.com" and an entire experience immediately comes to mind - you can see it and virtually touch it. "Home Depot or Lowes" - again, an entire experience. "Healthcare" not so much. Say healthcare and something comes to mind, but it isn't pretty.

A good deal of discussion has evolved around the concept of our "sick care" system. That's probably the most visual image consumers have of "healthcare". It is something I engage when I encounter a health related challenge.

If we were to shift that focus - sick care is the exception and healthcare is the norm - what would that experience look like? Whoever develops the "healthcare consumer experience" holds the key to the future.

Let's define the "healthcare consumer experience" as a service that optimizes my health. Assesses my current health status, tracks changes in health status over time, alerts me when changes warrant, accesses the appropriate level of care as necessary, (the team approach as Mr. Bertolini describes) and in the event of a catastrophic issue, insures me from financial loss while insuring I have access to optimal care.

Theoretically, some 30,000,000 new customers have entered the market of "insureds", (I did say "theoretically"). They now have their bronze, silver or gold plan - their $10,000 or so annual deductible, their $6,000 or so annual premium - the prospect of spending $16,000 a year before the first dollar of "coverage". What is their "healthcare experience"? What have they gained that will actually help them manage their "health"?

Yes, healthcare is becoming a consumer centric industry and consumers want choices. How the industry answers this clarion call will determine the long term future of health costs.

Brian Baum
Posted by Brian B | Friday, January 31 2014 at 12:44PM ET
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