At the same time, the potential commoditization of catastrophic risk coverage, combined with the need for consumer-friendly functions and services, will create a squeeze play on the traditional space of insurers and health plans. Sorting out a sustainable position or a symbiotic alliance will be major challenges for some of the largest insurers and health plans.
It may take five years or more for the full weight of defined-contribution health plans to be felt. "At that point, says Wharton's Sean Nicholson, we'll know how popular they are. People will vote with their feet."