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2 Things Are Driving a Massive Healthcare Transformation

By Rex Moore - Mar 1, 2014 at 10:30AM

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How Obamacare is transforming the experience of shopping for healthcare.

As Chief Consumer Officer for UnitedHealth Group ( UNH 0.74% ), Tom Paul works hard to understand the evolving needs of today's health consumers. He also wants UnitedHealth's customers to become engaged with their own health and wellness outcomes.

Tom served on "The Empowered Consumer" panel at the recent International CES, exploring how digital health can deliver practical solutions and give consumers the power of knowledge and choice.

In this video, Tom says there are two things driving this massive transformation in health care: Increased out-of-pocket expense for consumers, and their perception of how much value they are getting. The Obamacare exchanges have brought consumers into the shopping and selection process.

A full transcript follows the video.

Tom Paul: We're seeing this massive transformation around the consumer and the role that they play within health care. The ACA -- or the Affordable Care Act -- has continued that transformation, but really, the demand for that change was occurring long before ACA happened.

It's really being driven by two things. One is the greater out-of-pocket expense that a consumer is bearing around health care, and their perception of what value they're getting for that greater out-of-pocket expense. So, we're focused on how to try to get a better balance between the out-of-pocket cost and the value that they're getting, ultimately driving to better health outcomes.

One of the areas that the ACA has really transformed in the marketplace, or pushed along, is the shopping experience. Whereas consumers had input into their health and their health outcomes in the past, now they have input into where they're going to buy their insurance from.

The ACA has introduced exchanges, which really create this new shopping environment -- whether public or private -- in which consumers will need to look at plans, compare what they have to offer, and then make purchase decisions around that. Many of them have not had to do that in the past. Their employer chose for them.

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