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March 15th, 2012
Internet use may change doctor-to-patient interaction, a new report predicts.

A new study suggests the patient-doctor relationship will likely change significantly by 2025, a factor which could ultimately impact health insurance lead generation for agents.

According to the report – Primary Care 2025: A Scenario Exploration – which was conducted by the Institute for Alternative Futures, several factors could have an influence on how healthcare is received and delivered, such as the federal debt, an aging population, greater availability of medical information from online sources and cuts to Medicare and Medicaid payments, which could impact the availability of medicare supplement leads for agents.

In addition, the report noted that more consumers will be "empowered and motivated" to obtain quality healthcare coverage thanks to a greater flow of information.

The study also detailed how healthcare costs have risen over the past 20 years, finding that since 1999, healthcare premiums have increased 131 percent, far outpacing the growth of Americans' earnings at 38 percent and inflation at 28 percent.

Clement Bezold, chairman of the IAF, outlined some of the possible healthcare administration frameworks. These includes scenarios wherein healthcare shifts from plans that are employee-based to health insurance exchanges set up by states;  a shortage of primary care physicians and private health insurance policies; universal healthcare coverage where 85 percent of patients use more integrated systems that work closely with patients and health plans that are more consumer directed.

"The four scenarios provide the means to bound the uncertainty of the future," said Bezold. "They include our best estimates. We identify what is likely, what is challenging and what is preferable so policymakers, healthcare professionals and consumers can think about and help shape the future."

He added that with the advancement in online technology, consumers may also see more virtual care, personal health avatars and doctors who consult with patients remotely.

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