Kim says the millions of people who have gained health insurance over the past year represent not only a new pool of customers but also a chance for new entrants to help address an anticipated capacity shortfall. "There's going to be incredible stress on the delivery system," he says. "You need additional capacity to serve the population. … The key disruption is the uninsured."
For example, the Kaiser Permanente Care Corners at Walmart are "about increasing capacity for a population that probably didn't have coverage before and probably went to the emergency room to get care," he says.
David Schultz, president of Albany, NY-based Media Logic, a healthcare marketing firm, believes the enhanced role of the consumer in healthcare is the key that has opened the door for new entrants. "The entire industry is due for a major upheaval," he said after Tuesday's webinar. "Once you've made consumers actual buyers, their whole set of expectations has changed."
US consumers are still learning the healthcare industry ropes, but their interest in price and transparency is a game-changer, Schultz said. "Their needs will be met by entrepreneurs," he says.