Becker's Payer Issues Virtual Summit: 3 questions with John Kao, CEO of Alignment Healthcare

As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the first-ever Becker's Healthcare Payer Issues Virtual Summit, which will take place Aug. 3 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. CDT.

John Kao, CEO of Alignment Healthcare, will serve on the panel, "Top Concerns for Payers in 2020." To learn more about the conference and Mr. Kao's session, click here.

Question: What are three concerns for payers in 2020?

John Kao: 

  • Food. Payers are increasingly paying special attention to social determinants of health such as food insecurity, especially now during the pandemic. Older people are afraid to leave their homes to meet basic essential needs due to the risks involved. This was one of the driving factors behind Alignment Healthcare's crisis meal delivery program launch in March, which has delivered more than 24,000 meals to date.
  • Masks. Ensuring affordability and access to personal protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer goes a long way to empower members in feeling safe and taken care of. So far, Alignment has sent more than 40,000 masks to our members, and we continue to reach out.
  • Engagement. Payers want to develop a good relationship with their members even when there is no immediate need. This continues the path to consumerize the experience of senior healthcare — via a "concierge care" model and personalized data that powers more personalized experiences.

Q: What's one way the pandemic has changed the role of the payer?  

JK: More than ever, payers need to provide a community that offers support as well as peace of mind for its members, especially among the senior population. As one of the most vulnerable groups in the pandemic, seniors are often isolating for their protection — creating gaps in ongoing care as well as a sharp rise in loneliness that cannot be ignored. That's why Alignment has hosted regular virtual town halls with leading Alignment experts to dispel myths, answer member questions, and provide vital information related to COVID-19, loneliness and fitness-at-home. This amplifies other engagement forums such as a private Alignment Health Plan Facebook group, where group members can share experiences and resources. As the pandemic goes on, and as misinformation continues to spread, this level of education and engagement is critical. 

Q: What is the most underrated trait of the best leaders?

JK: Having a serving heart is Alignment's leadership cornerstone. This is one of the core values at the foundation of the decisions we make at Alignment Healthcare. The best leaders are the ones who proactively seek out and work to fulfill the needs of their employees, partners and members.

More articles on payers:
Leapfrog Group: Employers rank Cigna highest, UnitedHealthcare lowest on drive for value
4 disputes involving UnitedHealth, physician staffing firms
BCBS of North Carolina CEO: Pandemic costs will be 'north of $600M'

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