Insurance Providers Can Expect Telehealth to Reduce Risk on Coverage Plans

Insurance providers have every reason to pay attention to advances in telehealth if they want to save cash further down the line. In specific problem areas such as the management of persistent conditions like diabetes, research confirms that telehealth significantly reduces costs for both patient and insurers, while also helping to promote quality improvement and patient knowledge. With telehealth innovations, insurance providers are gathering more data than ever before, lessening the guesswork in calculating premiums and promoting patients to self manage their conditions. Across the board, insurance providers' see incentives to invest and approve of telehealth initiatives, namely to reduce expenses and keep coverage plans affordable.

Telehealth is attractive to insurance providers because as an information technology, telehealth promotes risk reduction by making knowledge available when appropriate. In the old days huge, unexpected costs from treating and insuring chronic conditions like diabetes were common place, insurers needing to charge large margins to account for the possibility of poor ongoing care. Now patients are no longer in the dark about their health stats and doctors don't have to wait for yearly, monthly or even weekly updates on patient treatment plans. Automated systems and on demand virtual healthcare removes the risk of unmonitored health plans, motivating patients to stick to their treatment and allowing insurers greater visibility into the health of their members. Health monitoring software and network connections help patients and providers take better care of themselves, preventing worsening conditions and increasing insurance costs. 

Telehealth data also provides a greater degree of granularity for insurers to recalculate premiums. Access to biometric data can give insight into the statistical risk profile calculations that go into devising coverage plans. This scheme lends the impetus to a virtuous cycle in which clients wearing health tracking devices and insurance companies meet half-way. Better health data means more accurate risk profiles, which for healthy or self-managing clients can mean cheaper insurance policies, and gives incentive for building a healthy lifestyle. The client is rewarded for being healthy and the insurer is less often faced with unexpected costs.

Arguably the most important development due to the advent of telehealth and health tracking is a cultural change towards modifying harmful behavior. Health tracking sets parameters on the boundaries of an individual's health, setting off alarms when something is off and allowing problems to be tracked every step of the way. In many ways these developments in pervasive sensing burst the founding assumptions of probability and risk that have defined insurance practice for decades.

With a future of pervasive data, proactive providers and healthier patients, telehealth sounds like an insurer's dream come true. And it is.

laurel christensen