So many things look different due to the global pandemic, and healthcare is no exception. Convenience, a rise in costs, and health equity are all driving change. Cigna Health highlights four trends for 2022 – mental health needs, drug costs, health equity, and virtual care. A fifth, and interesting trend, is a move to narrow health plan networks. This is a brief look at each one!
Mental health challenges have come to the forefront post-COVID-19. Research shows that employees are extremely stressed, and mental health issues resulting from the pandemic could continue for several years. To address the need, employers are seeking ways to invest more in mental health by offering programs, addressing stigmas, and integrating mental health into primary care at clinics.
Specialty drug costs are increasing as new drugs get approved. Higher costs have individuals and employers looking for prescription drug plans that provide cost-saving options such as generic alternatives, home delivery options, and specialty drug management solutions.
Each year, $42 billion in lost productivity is attributed to health disparities due to race, gender, sexual orientation, and where a person lives and works. The culture is changing to ensure all individuals have equal access to the care they need.
Telehealth is finally going mainstream. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, 77 percent of people who used virtual care for the first time in the past two years intend to keep using it. Telehealth is here to stay and is now the preferred way to deliver and receive care. The good news is that virtual care may lower or slow rising medical costs by replacing expensive in-office visits.
One more trend already in effect is the narrowing of networks. Narrow networks limit providers and hospitals considered in-network with the benefit of lower premiums. While many Americans would rather pay higher out-of-pocket costs and premiums to choose their doctors and facilities, this trend will likely continue to grow in 2022 and beyond.
As new trends emerge, this is an excellent time to ensure your health insurance meets your needs. A health advisor can help if you have questions about coverage or need to make changes due to a job change or turning 65. There is no fee to speak to an agent at Insurance Group of the Ozarks. We anticipate answering any of your questions. Call us at 417-725-1131 or contact us online.
Sources: Looking Ahead to 2022: https://view.ceros.com/cigna/trends-ln-q4/p/1; Asian Journal of Psychiatry: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7507979/pdf/main.pdf; Behind the Numbers 2021: https://www.pwc.com/us/en/industries/health-industries/library/assets/hri-behind-the-numbers-2021.pdf; Ani Turner, The Business Case for Racial Equity: https://altarum.org/publications/the-business-case-for-racial-equity-a-strategy-for-growth.