I played with New York’s new health insurance exchange marketplace this week. I think it’s absolutely amazing and I’m super happy to see it live. Here’s what it means for the future of health insurance:
Health insurance will quickly become a commodity. It’ll be the dumb pipes of healthcare similar to the internet. You can slap a commodity brand on top like Time Warner or Verizon, but in the end, you just want the internet to work fast for the cheapest price. Folks purchase MacBook Airs and iPads and iPhone 5s’ to make their internet sexy. The fact that the insurance plans are all arranged together ordered by price and type means the entire system will be a race toward the bottom and people will purchase the cheapest health insurance plan from the brand they hate the least. Let’s get real. Nobody ever says “I love my Aetna Health Insurance."
It’s an absolutely horrible time to be a health insurance company no matter how sexy of an interface you throw on top of it. And nobody’s ever going to pay an extra $1,000 a year as an individual for a sexy brand. They may pay an extra $5 a month. But sexy health insurance brands do not and will not ever exist.
As with all commodities, you need something intelligent to optimize the dumb pipes. That’s what these new and old health insurance companies are missing. And they’ll never be able to be a brand people love no matter how pretty the colors or slick the interface.
The future of health insurance plans is an initial go-to layer of intelligence that powers any of the dumb pipe commodities. It will travel with you as you switch employers and/or insurance companies. And that’s Sherpaa. Sherpaa is like the sexy new iPhone 5s that powers Aetna or United or whatever other commodity brand you throw at us. We make health insurance and healthcare intelligent. We take a commodity and make it awesome. That’s the future if you ask me…