GoHealth CMO on battling members' growing economic struggles

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One of the developing insurance battlefields are members who are forced to choose between paying for healthcare needs or basic needs, such as groceries, said Paul Hain, MD, CMO of GoHealth.

Dr. Hain said GoHealth surveys members annually, and recent results show that the number of members who struggle with monthly healthcare expenses rose from 14 percent in 2020 to 22 percent this year. There was a similar increase in members struggling to pay either medical bills or grocery bills.

In adjusting to the trend, GoHealth has tried to ride technology trends that have come out of the pandemic to drive down prices and ensure members don't have to choose between which bills to pay, Dr. Hain said on "Becker's Payer Issues Podcast." 

Below is an excerpt from the podcast. Listen to the full interview here.

Dr. Paul Hain: I certainly think [technology] is going to have a role and as seniors become more and more used to this technology, it's going to be better and better for them. From a consumer standpoint, if you just look at virtual visits during the pandemic, they really became more mainstream. But interestingly, it's not always what's preferred. So well up to 25 percent of current beneficiaries said that they had a virtual visit with their doctor last year. Fewer are open to the idea going forward, even if they had one, because they said they just prefer seeing their doc face-to-face. 

So some of that technology and digital transformation is [what] we're going to kind of see unfold. Whereas other things like the ability to have an app that connects you for, say, your diabetes care or something like that, I think is rolling out more quickly to the commercially insured population than Medicare. But as folks get used to that in the commercially insured population and they transition to Medicare, I think we'll see it take off. So it's a bit of a wait and see, but I don't think there's any going back from the improvements in technology and the abilities to affect people's lives positively with them. 

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