If you’re confused about your health insurance, a personal health care advisor can help you save money and navigate the system. The Health Care Service Corporation, which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, recently analyzed its own “Benefits Value Advisor” program. More than 90 percent of consumers who worked with the advisor were told they could save money by getting care through another provider. Those who acted on this information saved on average $2,000 per claim.
HCSC is a big insurer trying to sell its own program, but other individuals and companies provide the same kind of service. Stephen Brill’s now-famous piece on hospital price-gouging highlighted a number of individuals who make a living helping patients negotiate prices with hospitals. Health Champion is a recently-founded company that merges “the roles of Health Care Advisors (dispensing advice on medical issues) with that of Health Care Advocates (who stand up to insurance companies and the health care system to make sure everyone gets a fair deal).”
As technology simultaneously creates more wealth and eliminates some traditional jobs, new kinds of service-based jobs will arise. These will be about life’s sizzle, rather than its steak: personal nutritionists, wedding planners, gourmet chefs, and now health care advisors. A new industry that makes life easier while providing much-needed new jobs: we’ll be seeing much more of this in the future.