Stamford, Conn. – By 2010, health insurers will be looking over their shoulders at what otherwise might be considered unlikely competition—banks. Such is one of several predictions made this week by Gartner Inc. research analysts in Stamford, Conn. Insurers also are facing key issues such as staffing levels, healthcare spending account providers and the mismatch of data used by business intelligence tools, reports the firm.

Gartner predicts that by 2010, the fastest erosion of health insurance revenue will be due to an invasion in this space by banks. Health insurance companies are managing less medical risk and are forced to compete on administrative transactions, says Gartner. Consumer trust in banks as service providers, their transaction accuracy and security is significantly higher than that for health insurers. Health insurers failing to transform to a business model that integrates health insurance with financial products will suffer the same fate—marginalization or departure from the market—as insurers that failed to move from indemnity insurance to managed care.

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