posted by Matt Eyles, AHIP President & CEO
on June 29, 2018
As I finish my first month in my new role at AHIP, I thought it was important to reflect on some personal experiences that have shaped the way that I think about health care and health coverage. Each of us has at least one or more similar experience from the health care that we or our families and friends have received. And what I learned through this experience brought into sharp focus the importance of the work we do here at AHIP.
Several years ago, my wife and I were very fortunate to have two wonderful children. It was a huge surprise to our family that they were born the same day—exactly two years apart. And while both are healthy, thriving young people now who share the same birthday, they also shared being born almost six weeks prematurely, suffering from respiratory distress syndrome. We had some long days, and even longer nights, in the NICU.
There was a lot of anxiety in taking them home, especially my son, the older one. He was attached to a device about the size cable box to monitor his heart and breathing while he slept.
Those days as a new parent were already a time of tremendous stress. And worrying about whether my son’s breathing would stop took the stress and anxiety to a whole new level—especially the first time the alarm that sounded like an air horn went off at 3:00 a.m. when he pulled his wires out.
Or the stress of remembering to accurately dose his medication before middle-of-the-night feedings when we were already delirious from lack of sleep. We were unsure … but educated enough to know there was a whole lot that we didn’t know.
Examples like this—and you all have your own from your friends and families—this is what’s really driving the debate over health care in America. The personal, intimate interactions that collide with a complicated, confusing uniquely American health care system. And the expectations that we all have as patients, as parents, as caregivers, on what that experience should look and feel like.
How do we as a health care industry keep up to meet and exceed the expectations of consumers and patients? How are we ensuring that people and families get the care they need when they need it, at a cost they can afford, with help at the ready to break down barriers and make the experience simpler, better for patients and their loved ones?
This is the opportunity for insurance providers. Insurers have a unique vantage point in health care with a 360-degree view into what a patient is going through, what resources are available, which doctors and hospitals are in their network, how patients can maximize the value of their benefits, and what the data says is the best pathway to healing.
We know that patients are looking to us to help navigate our complex American health care system. Survey after survey tells us that they want us to be there to negotiate lower prices, and to advocate for their better health.
Insurance providers want to play that role. They have the data, research, and insight to help ensure patients get the right care at the right time—and to reduce a lot of the anxiety along the way.
Our members are evolving. Our industry is shifting. And the American health care system is changing.
Health insurance providers are challenging themselves to think differently about how we can serve and offer more choices to Americans. Choices that improve their health care quality, lower their health care costs, and create peace of mind. As a husband and father, I know what’s at stake.