COVID-19 has changed the way healthcare is provided by Accelerate the use of virtual care and telemedicine.
But insurers, employers and other payers are also jumping on the virtual bandwagon to reduce care costs by offering their members technology and digital solutions.
More and more players were adopting virtual-first health plans, some large insurtechs hit the public markets this year, and behavioral digital and mental health care became one of the most popular clinical areas for investors.
Virtual first plans
In 2021, several insurers and startups launched their own virtual-first health plans, insurances where telemedicine is the first contact with the medical system.
In October, the major insurer UnitedHealthcare launched a virtual-first plan called NavigateNOW that was developed with its sister company Optum. The plan is for patients to have their own care team to suit their needs, led by a family doctor who virtually meets with the patient. This provider could connect the patient to personal resources if necessary.
Another big insurer, Cigna, too has unveiled its own Virtual First plan for select employers using its recently acquired telemedicine platform MDLive. Telemedicine giant Teladoc Health has partnered with Trustmark Health Benefits to offer its virtual plan based on Teladoc’s new primary care service, Primary360.
The startup Firefly Health has also launched a virtual first offer is aimed at small and medium-sized employers.
“Everyone deserves access to affordable, high quality care based on empathy. This is a great opportunity to regain control of healthcare and ease the financial burden on individuals and businesses, ”said Fay Rotenberg, CEO of Firefly Health, in a statement when the plan was announced.
Insurtechs go public
Just days in 2021, Medicare Advantage insurance company Clover Health completed its special purpose vehicle merger and started trading on the Nasdaq. About a month later, Oscar Health announced plans to go public and began public trading in early March. Bright Health went public on the New York Stock Exchange in June.
Since then, the results have been in the dark. ONE STAT The analysis showed that the share prices of the three companies have plummeted since going public. Despite exceeding expectations in the third quarter, Clover still posted a loss of $ 34.5 million in income.
Bright Health reported a GAAP net loss of $ 296.7 million, despite sales increasing year over year. A $ 750 million investment was also made earlier this month.
Oscar also reported a year-over-year increase in sales in the third quarter, but also a net loss.
Behavioral medicine at home
Behavioral and mental health were paramount in 2021 as Americans reported increased symptoms of anxiety and depression during the pandemic.
But the provision of therapy or other mental health care also resulted in home birth. In September, around 61% of telemedicine claim lines were used to diagnose mental illnesses, according to information Monthly regional telehealth tracker from FAIR Health.
Investors took notice, too, with Rock Health pointing out startups in the mental health space Raised $ 3.1 billion in the third quarter.
Many of these companies focus on partnering with payers and working with employers or insurers to offer their services as a benefit to employees and members. BetterUp, a behavioral coaching company, closed a $ 300 million Series E round in October.
Spring Health raised a $ 190 Series C in September. Lyra Health raised $ 200 million. Headspace meditation app merged with digital mental health company Ginger to create Headspace Health, reportedly valued at $ 3 billion.
“Employers are beginning to realize that they have a real role and responsibility to play in addressing these issues,” said Mary Langowski, CEO of Solera Health said HIMSSTV in September. “Because if they don’t rise, no one else will.”