Ever debated calling an ambulance due to the overwhelming charges that normally come with it? Have you, like many, thought of calling an Uber instead? Now, Uber execs are making official plans to coordinate rides to and from doctor’s visits and hospital trips.
To use the standard Uber services, members had to go through the app to connect with a driver. Medical use of the service now allows for rides to be configured on patients’ behalf by doctor’s offices. For non-members and non-smartphone users, there’s even an option to be notified of ride details via landline.
Roadblocks to Healthcare
Transportation is a significant hindrance for vulnerable populations and their receipt of healthcare. In fact, 3.6 million Americans are late or altogether missing appointments due to transportation difficulties. However, potential complications stem from non-members. While the app allows drivers to pinpoint passengers’ exact location and pickup point, the same precision and convenience cannot be guaranteed for non-members.
Proceed with Caution
Note: this is NOT an ambulance replacement service. Uber Health aims to work with doctors to provide the best form of transportation possible. That said, healthcare providers still recommend utilization of ambulance services in emergent situations. Today, 100 organizations have used Uber Health, and the program continues to be gradually introduced throughout the country.
Apple Wants a Piece of the Pie
Remember Amazon getting involved in healthcare? Now Apple wants in. Apple is aiming to open clinics under the name AC Wellness for employees. At the moment, Apple employs several health professionals at their Wellness Center in Cupertino.
Per CNBC, the goal is to open two clinics, and job listings are already posted for a variety of positions ranging from physician to exercise coach. However, the goal of the clinics is twofold: provide care for patients and test products.
With the main emphasis still being care for employees, relying too heavily on unproven tech could be detrimental. Given the large “pale and male” contingent at Apple, data collected from these sites could also misrepresent larger, more diverse populations. The tech industry continues to grow at incredible rates, however, no (secure) data is bad data.
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3.2 Million Americans Predicted to Ditch Obamacare by 2022
Since the Individual Mandate has been all but repealed, Americans are looking for health insurance options beyond the Affordable Care Act. Idaho is leading the charge in an attempt develop plans more suitable for its resdidents, while several other states are seeking waivers allowing them to follow suit. One of the options outside of the ACA, or Obamacare, many are currently seeking are Association Health Plans (AHPs).
What's an AHP?
AHPs are health insurance programs sponsored by professional associations or industries and provided to their members. With Trump expanding AHPs in October, the plans now have less restrictions. They can be offered for shorter periods of time, and provide less coverage. Why less coverage over less time? More affordable.
As premiums continue to rise, options such as those available through AHPs are becoming overwhelmingly popular, especially among healthier populations. A study estimates that 3.2 million Americans will switch to these AHPs by 2022.
Impact Moving Forward
The AHP premiums will be roughly $2,900-$9,700 lower per year than the current Obamacare options. How? With healthier members selecting AHPs, the “risk pool” has less risk. Insurance companies are then able to take on more people at a lower cost. However, masses seeking lower premiums in the AHP markets would lead to a significant increase in premiums for those loyal to their Obamacare plans.