Tackling Climbing Costs from COVID-19
For many companies, navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has felt much like a roller coaster ride. And that’s meant tolerating several ups and downs. But from the first quarter of 2022, we’ve seen easing of restrictions and reopening of offices (including our own)—giving us all a bit of a breather.
However, with so many changes and the pandemic still ongoing, it begs the question—how can you prepare for what’s next? Below, we take a look a next phase some are calling the “COVID-19 hangover,” plus a few things you can expect to see and how to manage your costs.
Newer technologies for better engagement
Amid some big challenges, the pandemic has also ushered in a few positive changes. One example is the boom in the adoption of newer technologies.
Convenient and digital-first solutions can be a big help in driving up participant engagement. Some to add include QR codes, as well as more virtual care and telehealth options.
Spiking costs and the “COVID-19 Hangover”
So, what can you expect to see regarding medical spending? According to PwC’s annual report, employer medical costs are projected to rise 6.5 percent in 2022.1 This bump in the wake of COVID-19 is creating a “hangover” feeling and rising budget aches and pains.
Some reasons for this include:
- Increased use of medical services. Many employees who delayed care at the height of the pandemic are now seeking treatment.
- Increased mental health needs and limited in-person provider availability. The pandemic has created a much larger need for mental health services and a focus on overall well-being.
- Higher acuity rates. Since delaying care, those diagnosed with an illness or medical condition may now experience a higher level of severity, impacting costs.
48% of respondents
said they would be somewhat likely to seek out mental health services if they could do so using a “virtual visit.”*
*According to the 2021 Health Care Insights Study by CVS Health
What’s the remedy?
The good news is—with the right benefits and point solutions in place, employers can lessen a potential headache and actually lower costs over the long-term.
Here are a few ideas on how to do it:
- Go digital. Adopting telehealth options, including virtual mental health services may require a low upfront investment. However, they go a long way in improving access as well as lowering costs over time by improving chronic care and overall health.
- Focus on patient outcomes. Introducing benefits, such as second opinion services and disease management programs, can help lower spending with proven services to improve patient outcomes.
- Use lower-cost sites of care. Consumers are shifting away from emergency room services toward lower-cost solutions for non-acute care. Being able to offer walk-in options, like HealthHubTM or MinuteClinic®, as well telehealth visits and virtual primary care, are all important benefit features.
Learn how with Meritain Health®
At Meritain Health®, we have the solutions to help you lower the total cost of care while improving clinical outcomes. You can choose the custom plan that fits your needs. Contact us today.