Preparing for the Future Impact of COVID-19
Over the last month, we have seen the United States get hit by potentially the biggest public health challenge of our lifetime. The seriousness of this virus cannot be understated.
In addition to the health risks posed by COVID-19, many Americans are feeling the economic impact as well. I’m sure everyone reading this has either felt the financial impact themselves or knows of someone dealing with financial strain during this crisis. We know this is an extremely challenging and emotional time for all and we are committed to helping consumers navigate through this.
Delaying Elective Procedures
To keep patients safe and reduce stress on the health care system, one of the recommendations from the CDC is for consumers to delay all non-urgent elective procedures. While this is undoubtedly the best course of action right now, we should prepare for the backlog of these types of procedures when the health care system eventually returns to a more normal situation. This pent-up demand will need to be absorbed by an industry with finite resources and these elective services will need to be sequenced over time as to not overwhelm the health care industry.
With consumers shouldering more responsibility for their health care costs than ever before, it’s become even more important for consumers to have access to high-quality, affordable care. When we do get back to some semblance of “normal” in society, elective procedures (everything from a knee surgery to colonoscopy) will need to be rescheduled, even if wallets are pinched. Now more than ever, it’s important that consumers are easily able to find and understand the options available to them related to the cost and quality of their care. It’s our job to help Americans navigate this complex system and guide them to find the best care at the most affordable price.
Do Your Research
In recent years, we’ve seen consumer expectations increase around access to care and care delivery options. This expectation has peaked during the coronavirus crisis, as we’ve seen unprecedented use of alternative care delivery models like telehealth to improve care access.
While at home over the next several weeks, I encourage Americans to use this time to research care options to prepare for the time when appointments can be rescheduled. It’s important to know that costs for a procedure varies dramatically, even in network, and quality does not always equate with cost. Consumers can leverage tools through their health plans and employers to compare costs and find the best care for themselves and their families. While navigating health care information can seem daunting, personal assistance is available to help patients get the most value out of their care. We know that especially during a time like this, this human connection is vital to help consumers feel confident about their decisions and get their health journey back on track.
While we all weather this storm, my biggest hope is that consumers feel supported and empowered to make care decisions to keep their bodies, minds and wallets healthy.