Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Anthem Blue Cross Research Head Confronts Post-ACA Unknowns

Insights Chief: Tried-and-True Tools Aren't Enough

By Marc Dresner, IIR

We’ve seen industries turned on their ears these past 20-some years, but if I had to cast a vote for “Most Disrupted,” I think I’d go with U.S. healthcare.

More than four years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), whatever you think of the law, it continues to wreak havoc.

At health insurance companies, for instance, acutely uncertain footing has of course compelled decision makers to crank up the pressure on their market research folks for answers.

The challenge for people like Doug Cottings, Staff VP of Market Strategy & Insights at Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield (formerly WellPoint), is that new rules require fresh tools.

Doug Cottings
“Past approaches that have been tried and true are not as effective as they used to be.”

“Everybody wants to know what the future looks like and to project business results,” said Cottings. 

“Unfortunately, predicting the future by relying on what I used to in the past—approaches that have been tried and true—they are not as effective as they used to be.”

“The consumer is so different and the environment has changed so much that it just doesn’t make [what we’ve done before] as relevant and meaningful as it once was,” Cottings added.

In this refreshingly frank podcast interview for The Research Insighter series, Cottings discusses how dramatic changes to the U.S. health insurance landscape have affected the insights function, including:

-          Incorporating “safety nets” in research design

-          Starting from the ground up when norms no longer apply

-          Making the most of technology, and more!

Listen to the podcast!

Read the transcript!
The Research Insighter: Doug Cottings, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield (WellPoint)

Editor’s note: Doug Cottings will present “Leading Insights in Times of Change” at The Market Research Event 2014 taking place October 20-22 in Boca Raton, Florida.

For information or to register, please visit

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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