Where Health and Wealth Converge: Building New Solutions For Consumer Well-Being

The global pandemic, through necessity, has continued to drive digital innovations throughout almost all industries. But some changes are more revolutionary than others, and in looking at health and wealth management, new datasets and new business models are changing the way advisors and providers look to help individuals and employers alike, providing optimized solutions for outcomes where health and wealth converge.

Industry thought leaders and FinTech startups discussed the ways in which the digital drive is disrupting these technologies during sessions at Morningstar’s 2020 U.S. Investment Conference.

“Every other aspect of the consumer’s life has already been digitized except perhaps the most important one: healthcare,” said Matt Wolf, Health Care Senior Analyst and National Health Care Business Valuation Leader at RSM. “And now we’ve been in an environment where tens of millions of people have been essentially forced to use telehealth and virtual health solutions, many for the first time—and many to most of them have liked that experience. They’re not going to want to go back to the completely physical healthcare experience they had before.”

And that demand for digital experiences builds roads into a convergence between services. The health and wealth management sides of the equation long stood separated, but as consumers think more about how their dollars spend across the board, and where savings plays such an active role not only in healthcare outcomes but overall longevity, market disruptors are now looking at customer-first approaches that contemplates the trade-offs from a holistic point of view, rather than through the lens of one particular product.

“We look at the notion of a sort of personal green,” said Atul Kamra, Managing Partner at Six-Thirty. “With the shifting responsibility of retirement planning towards the individual, with the relentless growth of healthcare costs and education costs, and the relentless breaches of our privacy and our identity, there is a lot of pressure. We increasingly see individuals thinking about their well-being as being connected across these dimensions: medical health, financial health, information health. A new notion of personal green is born out of that.”

And managing that sense of personal green requires a financial eye, increasingly; the most efficient ways for consumers to be able to pay for it all. Helping them get a financial plan in place is key, and because of that, a whole host of new fintech and financial wellness solutions have started to emerge, as vendors look to add complementary services to their offerings. The importance of these solutions isn’t only driven by the pandemic, but by costs that continue to spike, year over year.

“At a system-wide level, one out of ten adults delay medical care because of financial constraints,” Kamra said. “42 million Americans are carrying medical debt, and 60% of them are insured. That stress affects all aspects of life. That’s why these roles are coming together; our medical condition is showing up with our healthcare providers, and it’s showing up with our bank lenders, and it’s showing up with our employers because of the impacts of stress on productivity.”

The potential solutions are wide-ranging, with FinTech providers looking to offer everything from longevity-focused wealth management advice, to directly plugging into the process of obtaining personalized healthcare. Morningstar highlighted a select handful of startups as part of their discussion, including:

Genivity – Offering ongoing risk planning for longevity, with a focus on the long-term cost of healthcare and building those costs into an overall strategy.

AiVante – Bringing big data and machine learning to healthcare to make long-term projections on premiums and out of pocket costs to provide a complete, personalized picture.

Flume Health – Flume creates plans for self-insured employers, with an eye for personalized healthcare planning designed to cut costs to employers without sacrificing coverage needs.

Savvi Financial – Using applied analytics to predict a holistic look at long-term expenses, and the financial planning necessary to ensure the best outcomes.

Retirable – Focused on providing mass-market retirement planning to consumers who don’t meet the net worth requirements of traditional wealth managers.

Lapetus – AI-powered risk assessment strategies, with plans to unveil a facial analytics platform to predict long-term health outcomes.

Choosing Therapy – Easing access to mental health services for consumers and making it easier for therapists to get into private practice.

– Jess Purdy