Broad Way Ahead Co-existence and Co-growth with Healthcare Players

Back to list 2019-09-26 17:07:53

Over the last few years, the health insurance market has been undergoing tremendous growth. In the first half of 2019, health insurance’s premium size has exceeded car insurance and became China’s second largest insurance type. With new services and products emerging and upgrading every day, the complexity and extensiveness of health insurance have outpaced many other type of insurance. And with the rapid development of technologies in e-commerce, the access to health insurance products and services have also become more and more convenient.



Development of high-end health insurance is in full swing

The primary consumers of China’s mid-end and high-end health insurance are entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals born in the 70s-80s, at an average premium per person between 6,000 to 35,000 yuan annually. This consumer group attaches great importance to the medical resources, the insurance coverage and convenience of access to service. Their expectation aligns with MSH’s service philosophy: Recommend the most appropriate hospitals and doctors to our customers instead of the most famous ones. With the rise of consumerism, the interest of the young middle-class for entry-level high-end health insurance products is growing, as well as the demand for insurance products customized for specific needs such as overseas treatment for critical illness, childbirth, oversea study or overseas expatriation.

In recent years, utilization of high-end health insurance has been increasing in tier-two and tier-three cities, such as Ningbo, Nantong, Changzhou, Wuxi, Shenyang, Qingdao, Dalian, Wuhan, Harbin, Zhuhai, Dongguan (according to analysis of the claim service data by MSH). Booming needs observed in a more extensive geographic area of China breeds huge potential market potential for health insurance. Meanwhile, thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, a large number of Chinese companies are now going global. MSH is actively expanding its medical network and clientele in the countries alongside with the Belt and Road Initiative, such as in the Middle East, including UAE, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Qatar, as well as African countries like Uganda, Kenya, the Republic of South Africa, Angola, Madagascar, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, and Ghana to explore new blue ocean markets.


Medical Institutions VS Commercial Insurance-Co-existence and Co-growth

As a pioneer in high-end health insurance market in China, MSH was the first one to establish in 2002 a direct billing medical network with China's top public health institutions. When selecting medical institution partners, MSH has set high standards and values most the self-positioning and the service philosophy of the medical institutions. Before establishing partnership with the medical institutions, MSH will spend a lot of time on in-depth communication with their founders and their management teams to share each other’s visions and values. For instance, after a first contact with a private medical institution, MSH found out that the management team had been frequently replaced, its self-positioning was unclear, and the pricing was unreasonable. So even this medical institution was equipped with relatively advanced medical equipment and strong medical team, MSH still set a 3-to-6-month observation period to assess the stability and operational capability of the institution.

Many other factors, such as medical quality, communication ability, service process and pricing system of medical institutions are also key evaluation indicators. Moreover, middle and high-end customers expect not only been arranged to see a highly qualified doctors, but also have a direct and transparent communication with the doctors to get a clear and overall understanding of their treatment plans, as the advantages and disadvantages of a them, instead of "been given information piece by piece at each step". Although the doctor may know every step of the treatment plan very well, the lack of effective communication may leave the patient confused. The positioning of the medical institutions is also very important. Positioning itself as servicing the mass population or only servicing the high net worth individuals needs to be clearly defined. Fixing the prices at a high-end range while targeting middle-end market should be avoided. However, medical institutions with reasonable pricing can tap into both middle and high-end markets by providing cost-effective and high-quality service.

After experiencing an impetuous period of time, the medical institutions are heading towards a more pragmatic direction. In MSH’s view, reasonable price for medical services, adequate level of health insurance premium, a stable group of consumers and high-quality medical services are intertwined with each other. And MSH will endeavor to contribute in achieving a win-win situation among the customers, the medical institutions and the insurance companies.


The future of medical institution has come: Broad Road Ahead

With the new policy of separating hospitals from pharmacies, consumers now have more choices to meet their needs for medicines. In the meanwhile, insurance companies have also started to provide drug delivery services. In the future, more and more the consumers will place the order drugs on-line. The consumers will no longer be satisfied by merely having face-to-face consultation with the doctors. Communication and service before and after a consultation will also have a role play to improve the consumers’ medical service experience. Medical institutions and third party administrators are also exploring the exchange of medical insurance claim data through system integration. Traditional service model is under transformation and bilateral innovation on both the medical service providers’ side and the insurance companies’ side is taking place.

Concerning the health management service chain, medical service arrangements, health consultation, nurturing healthy lifestyle, drug supply, etc. are all indispensable. There is a growing concern about chronic disease management, MSH is making targeted attempts – managing chronic diseases with predictable effects, development of specific insurance products, health management services, etc. There is more we can do, such as providing value-added service of nurturing healthy lifestyle for clients who have purchased long-term critical illness insurance, providing health risk management, i.e. identifying the health risks and proactively intervening and managing these risks in order to reduce the incident rate of critical illnesses.  For example, genetic tests are provided as a value-added services in the individual high-end health insurance products serviced by MSH, to help the customers detect critical illness relating to digestive system at early stage.

Despite fierce competition in private health care market, the demand for medical services is still huge and growing. Medical institutions need to shape their core competencies, to provide differentiated services and to operate efficiently in order to stand out among the competition. Following the saying that “each of us should take its own efforts to a common cause”, while jointly creating a multi-level health care system, we do hope to see the medical institutions develop their unique and competitive advantages and avoid homogeneous competition. And we do anticipate a bright future for private health care provision.

The new era has come. The insurance companies are more open to include new methods of seeking medical services in the scope the health insurance coverage. MSH is looking forward to working with Grade III public hospitals to design new health management services by leveraging the strong medical resources of such public hospitals. We welcome innovative medical institutions to cooperate with us, to incorporate high-quality new services into the scope of insurance coverage, and to enhance the benefit provision to our customers.

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This article is an abstract of the speech delivered by Celine Zhang, CEO of MSH China at the 1st Cross-strait International Conference-Development of International and Premium Medicine in China & 12th Forum - “Premium Healthcare”.

The four-day conference focused on hot topics including construction of international health tourism brand, development of international and special medical service, cooperation in high-end commercial health insurance, cross-strait medical dialogue, norms and standards of international medical and special services, development of international and social hospitals, brainstorms by the elites and international clinics. The conference was attended by over 400 experts from China mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, the United States and the United Kingdom.

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