COVID has driven a better health market, from patients increasing exercise, the utilization of health care technology and an increased interest in wellness
The world is a different place as a result of COVID-19. This novel coronavirus has changed the way we live, work, and play — for some people, rather dramatically. According to the findings of a survey of 1,000 American adults, it is also driving a better health market for patients, showing wellness as a growing concern.
An increased better health market
According to this survey conducted by healthinsurance.com and released in January 2021, 83% of the respondents reported that the virus has made them more aware of their own health. While the best-case scenario is for the virus to not have occurred at all, this better health market will be one of the positives that have come from this pandemic.
With greater awareness also comes a greater willingness to take positive steps toward better health. The survey shows that people are making these changes by taking actions such as buying at-home exercise equipment (36%) and doing virtual workouts (42%).
Respondents further stated that COVID has also made them more aware of the health of others around them. This is likely due to 83% of them knowing at least one person who tested positive for this virus and 39% knowing at least one person who has lost their life as a result.
Sometimes it’s easy to not think about health conditions that don’t afflict us personally. Yet, the virus has brought the repercussions of many pre-existing conditions to the forefront. By making it known that these diagnoses often have far-reaching consequences, they become more personal.
A greater reliance on health care technology
Virtual office visits have been around for a lot longer than most people realize. Some research points as far back as 1879, when an article published in the Lancet mentioned “using the telephone to reduce unnecessary office visits.” And in 1925, an image of a doctor diagnosing a patient via the radio was published on the cover of Science and Invention magazine.
Fast forward to today and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that telehealth visits increased 154% in the 12 months from May 2019 to May 2020. Though it may seem that many of these likely had to do with COVID-related issues, the CDC indicates that this wasn’t the case. From January to March 2020, 93% of the telehealth visits were not due to the virus at all.
Healthinsurance.com’s survey further suggests that this reliance on health care technology is likely here to stay as 48% of the respondents say that they’ve used telemedicine during the pandemic and 81% report that they will continue to do so once it is over.
Health care coverage changes
Some people renew their health care coverage annually without even checking to see whether the policy they have is still suitable for them and their families. This is somewhat understandable since these policies are often complex and include terms that most people don’t use on a daily basis, such as co-insurance and copay.
Yet, this survey reveals that Americans may be more willing to really look into whether their current health care policy is sufficient. Of the people responding, 26% said that, after the pandemic, they made changes to their policies. Of these individuals, 65% shared that this change involved an increase in coverage with 43% changing their insurance plan entirely.
What is unclear by these numbers is whether the changes were due to wanting increased coverage in case something happened or if they were a result of not taking the time to fully review their policies pre-pandemic. Only time will tell, based largely on what happens over the next few years.
If policy changes and increases continue to occur, it may be a sign that people are paying more attention to their health insurance plan. If policy coverage decreases, this could signal that people are feeling less fearful and thus more willing to take the risk that they won’t need as much coverage, lowering it, potentially in an effort to reduce their premium payments.
Health care quality is good to excellent
Perhaps one of the most promising findings of this study is that a whopping 82% of respondents rated their health and medical services as “good or excellent.” From a health care professional’s point of view, this is good news because it says that your patients feel that you are providing exceptional service, even in the midst of a major pandemic.
But this news is also good for patients too. Especially since patient satisfaction is tied to positive outcomes and adherence to their health care routine and an overall better health market. The happier they are with the process, the more likely they are to stick with it long enough to obtain good results. The overall result, it seems, is a steep increase and desire for patient wellness.