The costs of doing business for health insurers have risen dramatically during the pandemic. In this article, recently published on Future Healthcare Today, Scott Zurich, SME Communications and Solutions Advisor at Zelis Healthcare shares his thoughts on how health insurers can address these challenges and contain costs in 2022.
While the cost of delivering healthcare was already high before the COVID-19 pandemic started, the price has not gone down since and has created a greater burden on health insurers. Insurers had to absorb the costs of care, treatments, tests, and suffered revenue losses from delayed elective surgeries and the postponement of other non-emergent care. Scott Zurich, SME Communications and Solutions Advisor at Zelis Healthcare, shared his thoughts on the long-lasting impact on health insurers and how they can reduce the costs of doing business.
Zurich also shared the struggles insurers have had to endure due to the pandemic. From the shift to telehealth to higher rebates due to the medical loss ratio, there has been a “drop-in member satisfaction with communications, and the industry had to deal with the unprecedented challenges and be forced to adapt.”
The termination of employees resulting in less efficiency, shifting processes to accommodate the hybrid work environment, and lower revenue due to postponed surgeries have all impacted the bottom line for health insurers. Payers are having to rethink their payment and communications disbursement and are looking to outsource this administrative component of healthcare, said Zurich. Therefore, insurers need to transform in order to maintain priority and reduce the cost of doing business and can do this by transforming provider payments from paper check to electronic (ACH/VCC), reducing the number of member and provider printed communications through digital correspondence, consolidating and aggregating documents over a longer period, which eliminates paper and postage. This also reduces inbound calls to customer service, which reduced the overall support costs and improved member satisfaction, insurers will be able to bounce back from the lull the pandemic has placed on health insurance companies.
In addition to the above, these improvements in fewer paper checks allow providers to focus on their core competencies and eliminate the need to deposit and scan checks. This helps payments to be disbursed and executed in a more efficient manner than historical processing timelines further reducing days sales outstanding (DSO).
While the pandemic created challenges for health insurers, it also provided an opportunity to transform and modernize their processes. These increased efficiencies will benefit health insurers for the future years to come, but the time to make changes is now. Learn how here.