Viewpoints from Craig Hasday

America is seeking a new normal in healthcare.

At the National Blue Cross Consortium meeting this week, I listened to consultant Oliver Wyman discuss future healthcare trends. The theory they are espousing is that Americans are changing the way they access healthcare.

Telemedicine and retail clinics (Walmart/CVS) are increasingly becoming the new portal to healthcare.

During the period 2010 to 2015, telemedicine spending increased from $540 million to $1.9 billion. Retail clinic usage increased 176% to 19 million visits and urgent care center usage increased by 5.8% annually. In 2013, 15% of respondents used a retail clinic. This grew to 26% in 2015.

Additionally, Americans aren’t thrilled with our current healthcare system.

Our perception of the healthcare experience at 64% favorable is only slightly worse than our satisfaction with internet providers. So it wasn’t surprising for me to learn that 79% found the care at a retail clinic to be as good as or better than a traditional doctor’s office. And that varied only slightly for age, income and health status. 50% of respondents are concerned about cost. So it appears that the interest of employers and those of care recipients are aligned.

Breaking habits is hard, and it is going to require a great deal of effort to achieve a meaningful shift.

We have been recommending that plan sponsors promote lower costs and better experience associated with using retail clinics and telemedicine. It will be worth it.

 

EPIC offers these opinions for general information only. EPIC does not intend this material to be, nor may any person receiving this information construe or rely on this material as, tax or legal advice. The matters addressed in this article and any related discussions or correspondence should be reviewed and discussed with legal counsel prior to acting or relying on these materials.

 

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Craig Hasday

President, National Employee Benefits Practice