Crisis = digital opportunity

In the pandemic, health insurers have generally fared better than most industries. While 46% of all respondents in our global cross-industry study cited a negative impact from the pandemic, only 8% of payers said the same. The economic downturn did create customer churn, driven by the loss of commercial members and an increase in Medicaid rolls. Still, payers generally benefited from fewer reimbursements as providers all but eliminated high-margin elective procedures due to social distancing requirements. (For our report on healthcare providers, see “Digital Delivers at the Frontlines of Care.”)

If anything, the pandemic affirmed payers’ previous investments in digital technology as they pivot toward new market opportunities. Targeting cost control, 60% of payers said they are looking to digital technologies to achieve operational efficiencies through automation. By 2023, those who said they will see large to very large gains in these areas will double, to 18%.

In pursuit of new revenue, a majority of executives expect to increase their use of digital channels to deliver services to customers. Almost one-third of payers said they are now generating 10% to 20% of revenues through digital channels – double the percent of the cross-industry average (see Figure 1). That ratio is expected to persist into 2023.

Payers make a play for digital revenue channels

Respondents were asked to identify the percent of company revenues they receive from digital channels, now and in 2023. (Percent of respondents)

Response base: 50 U.S. healthcare payers; 4,000 total respondents Source: Cognizant Center for the Future of Work Figure 1