The coronavirus pandemic will bring about many changes, some positive, others less so, in the health insurance market, particularly in Latin America. In summary, this was the consensual evaluation presented by the guests of the second edition of the “CQCS Innovation Latam”. The event, which had more than 1,500 subscribers, was a success in terms of audience and content. Mediated by Gustavo Doria Filho, founder of CQCS, it had as its central theme “ Pandemic’s impact on the health insurance market” and counted on the participation of Lior Baruch, executive in the insurance sector, managing health care networks in Latin America and the Caribbean; Flavio Bitter, managing director of Bradesco Saúde; and Victor Navarro, president of Global Excel Latin America. In this edition, “Insurtech of the month” was Player’s Health, represented by its CEO and founder, Tyrre Burks.
Lior Baruch made an important warning about the possibility of increasing costs for companies when the pandemic is over. “Many companies have seen the claim volume drop a lot due to the lower number of elective procedures. When we get back to normal, there may be an accumulation and companies will need to be prepared to bear the cost that will come “, he advised, adding that the sector will also be affected by the fact that the procedures related to covid” are not profitable “.
For him, the expansion of telemedicine will be an important and positive legacy of the pandemic. Another is the home office. “Working from home was good and had a great impact,” he commented.
According to Baruch, there are problems both in Latin America, where the pandemic has not been “well managed” in some countries, including Brazil, and in the United States, a country where health is so expensive that 15% of Americans are unable to have access to a health plan. “Brazil continues to put its feet in the hands, it seems that the country is not facing a pandemic, but a pandemonium. Science has two sides, the country does not have a health minister, it even adopted interesting measures, such as field hospitals, but it is skating at the moment ”, he warned.
For him, the situation is also bad in Peru, due to poverty, which forces people, who do not have a refrigerator, to go out every day to buy food, being exposed to the virus; and in Chile, which has a high development rate, but faces difficulties that were exposed by the pandemic. “It is one of the most unequal countries, they started to cope well when the pandemic reached only the elite. But, the elite has cooks, employees and when it reached lower income, there was an explosion of cases ”, lamented Baruch.
On the other hand, he praised the “successful cases”, such as Uruguay, which had mandatory quarantine and adequate policies, and Paraguay, with “high poverty rate, but with public health measures that had an effect”.
BRADESCO – Flávio Bitter presented some relevant data on how Bradesco Saúde, which currently has 3.6 million beneficiaries and 47 thousand providers in the reference network, with a market share of 12.1% in the market, has been facing the pandemic . “We had 15,000 hospitalizations for coronaviruses from our users. At some point we thought that we would not be able to provide access to all of our customers. But with the isolation measures, there was no collapse. We had a positive scenario, the use of masks and isolation. As a result, the transmission curves have fallen, ”he observed.
Bitter also pointed out that the private sector did, in Brazil, a better clinical work than countries like Spain and Italy, registering fewer days of hospitalization and less need to occupy ICU beds.
He also stressed that the coronavirus is being responsible “for the digital transformation in companies” with the explosion of access to companies’ websites by people in search of information and, mainly, telemedicine.
In addition, requests for reimbursement by digital means, which represented only 21% of the total registrations made in January, already reach 87% of requests.
The Bradesco executive presented an optimistic vision for the future, especially in the daily lives of people, who have become accustomed to working in the home office and will want to maintain a better quality of life, avoiding the daily traffic jams. “This is going to be normal,” he said.
However, he cautioned that the economy will face recession, which will bring greater risk aversion and increase the need to prioritize spending more intelligently and efficiently. “But in health, the memory of the pandemic will show the relevance of having insurance,” he said.
Another important point pointed out by Bitter concerns the change in behavior that they are reluctant to seek care in hospitals. “When we get back to normal, people will see how valuable and important it is to have care in other locations, with an attending physician. Telemedicine platforms will be a safe environment for doctors to analyze the patient ”, he projected.
GLOBAL – In turn, Victor Navarro emphasized the importance of forums such as the “CQCS Innovation Latam” so that the really relevant issues can be discussed with experts. “We need to work together in the region. The crisis is also a time of reflection on what we are doing best for customers, shareholders, employees and how we should prepare for the future ”, he observed.
He highlighted the role of health companies in assisting people during the pandemic. “In the beginning, there was concern that healthcare companies would not cover the covid after WHO declared the state of the pandemic. That would be a breach of trust with the customer. But the opposite was true. The health companies presented themselves at the front, even though the covid is not profitable for the private sector, which forces companies to, in addition to providing necessary services, having to seek income ”, he emphasized.
He also pointed out the problems that may arise as a result of the reduction in elective procedures. In Navarro’s assessment, it is still not possible to know whether there will be an accumulation of procedures, not least because people demonstrate that they want to go to the hospital. “We don’t know what the impact will be. So, you need to have money to cover everything when we get back to normal, ”he advised.
“Insurtech of the month” – In the presentation of Player’s Health, as “Insurtech of the month”, Tyrre Burks revealed that the pandemic affected the entire sports sector, which forced his company to redouble efforts to create the safest environment possible for athletes, in addition to supporting various sports organizations.
As an athlete who had to leave football after an injury, he stressed the importance of the policies and protocols followed by these organizations, including risk analysis and insurance policy, in order to avoid future risks. “Their focus is on the athlete’s performance and protection. With the resumption of games, the most important thing is to bring athletes back safely. Prevention is a challenge and our platform helps with management, ”he said.
In this context, Burks revealed that screening is being carried out to see which athletes have had contact with covid and whether they have symptoms. “We work with injury prevention and I had an injury that ended my career. We follow a protocol, we have a system to classify the main injuries and analyzes in a robust application. We also have investigators who investigate complaints. To ensure that coaches offer the best experience for athletes, we track their credentials and criminal records, ”he explained.