What CVS and Aetna can learn from Ping An


It was announced this week that CVS is going to buy Aetna.  

Though the deal needs to be finalized and approved, this has been in the news for the past few weeks now now seems to be closer to reality.

Some of the news I read on this states the reason for this is so they can stave off competition from Amazon when/if they get into more of the pharmaceutical and possibly insurance space (though that may be changing too).  

I’m going to be an optimist and also assume that they wanted this deal so they can leverage their collective powers to create a powerful proposition for American citizens when it relates to their health care needs.  After all, this is an area that is in need for some improvement.  

To the executives of CVS and Aetna – this call to action may seem like a big one. However, you don’t need to overthink it too much.  If you look out to China, Ping An has already taken a big leap forward in building a connected health ecosystem with it’s Good Doctor app – and our guest author, Zarc has even written an article this week on Ping An’s technology strategy to help you with this!  

I’m happy to lend my two cents too

Between these two corporate giants, they have a network of doctors, hospitals, clinics and drugstores that rival any other in the US.  

However, a network is only so good as how you use it.  

Take a look at Ping An’s network strategy below which was taken from a presentation back in 2015.

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 10.09.11 AM

Let’s break down these online and offline services:

  • Online through use of the Good Doctor app, a policyholder can:
    • Search for, and book doctors.  This can be either online consultations or in-person (i.e. offline)
    • Have an online consultation with a doctor
    • Purchase medicine
    • Get access to information about various health topics – either general or specific to me
    • Monitor their own health plan
  • Offline, Ping An has developed a network of hospitals, physicians, pharmacies and more, which will allow the policyholder access to services they can’t get through the online platform

As I said a few weeks ago in my article on US Health Care and referencing this app, this is how an ecosystem should work, folks.  

  1. A health record is input from the beginning after the initial check-up with the primary care physician.  From there, all updates of a policyholder’s health are updated within the ecosystem.
  2. Any time a doctor, consultant, pharmacist or even the insurer, Ping An needs to see this information – it is there.  Doctors use it for giving the policyholder advice on their health.  Pharmacists can verify the ailment against the drug being prescribed.  Ping An can validate the claim based on the health of the policyholder, etc.
  3. If a policyholder isn’t sure if their symptoms are too serious and want to research, then Good Doctor has the information database.  If they aren’t convinced, then they can book an online consultation.  Only if need be, will they then go to the hospital.  This saves time and money for all parties involved.
  4. Prescriptions and medicines can be ordered and paid for online and delivered to the policyholder.  
  5. Push notifications and best practice tips are given to the policyholder the whole time, based on their individual health as well as general information relating to their age, gender, genetics, etc.  
  6. And more…

As I write it, it seems very simple and logical.  CVS and Aetna, I am sure you can do a decent job in replicating this.  If I haven’t convinced you yet from a customer perspective, let’s talk about dollars and cents.

It’s also worth a lot, financially, to build this ecosystem

In this article from Reuter’s, it looks as if Good Doctor is readying itself for an IPO too.  This IPO is rumoured to be between $500m and $1bn.

Wait, what?

An APP from an Insurance company is going to have an IPO – at a potential mark of $1bn?

Do we have your attention now, CVS and Aetna?


In my first official article with Daily Fintech, I stated that ‘China has now helped to push Asia to the top of the Insurtech leader’s club’ because of the Zhong An IPO.  The more I read about Ping An, I think I need to amend my statement.  China is the reason that Asia is at the top of the Insurtech leader’s club!

I’ve focused on Ping An’s healthcare ecosystem, specifically because of my recent experience applying for health insurance in the US, as well as my most recent professional experience which involved working for one of the biggest providers of health insurance in Malaysia.

This should not undermine the other ecosystems that Ping An has created, which all have some very unique USPs in their own right.

Customer experience is a word that is thrown around in our space a lot.  This obviously means different things to different people.  For me, it has to do with getting the services I need, at an affordable price, in a timely manner.   

That’s it.  

It doesn’t need to be complex.  

This is something we all can be reminded of in our business and innovation initiatives (not just CVS and Aetna).

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Stephen Goldstein is an experienced Insurance executive and Insurtech dealmaker with a core focus on growing revenue, launching go to market initiatives and advising industry leaders.

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