By Mary Langowski, CEO, Solera Health
Investments in digital therapies and solutions are making it easier for consumers to obtain the help they need, whether it be for sleep issues, stress, anxiety or other conditions. Frankly, this digital transformation could not come at a better time for patients and payers, who have waged an uphill battle to deal with rising healthcare costs.
To cover escalating costs, payers have been forced to raise premiums and deductibles to the point of straining consumer budgets, which risks discouraging some patients from seeking care for chronic issues that can lead to more serious conditions requiring costly treatments. A recent study by Kaiser found that annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance increased by 4% in the past year alone. The study also found that average family premiums have increased 55% since 2010 – at least twice as fast as wages (27%) and inflation (19%).
After searching for more affordable alternatives, consumers and a growing number of payers and employers are discovering virtual-first healthcare, a more consumer-centric approach to addressing health needs by beginning with online resources and service providers. This emerging ecosystem is improving healthcare outcomes by giving consumers greater control and choice to treat chronic conditions, mental health concerns and other challenges through inexpensive digital experiences.