Skip to Content

5 Must-Read Insights from AHIP’s Policy Conference


The National Conference on Health Policy and Government Health Programs convened experts in health care policy to explore top issues in health care.

Published Mar 25, 2022 • by AHIP

During AHIP’s 2022 National Conference on Health Policy and Government Health Programs this month, experts in health care delivery, insurance, and policy convened virtually to explore top issues in health care today, and how to advance solutions.

More than 120 senior health insurance provider leaders, policy experts, government officials, and health care executives put a spotlight on key issues — including value-based care arrangements, behavioral health, equity, and finally, the key ways that health insurers can improve the health care system.

Here are the top takeaways from the conference:

1) When it comes to population health, partnership matters.

“Moving forward we'll have time to step back and look at the lessons learned and apply those to future pandemics,” said Jeff Zients, the outgoing White House COVID-19 coordinator and counselor to the president. “But I think that the partnership between the public and private sector in response to public health threats will be one best practice that certainly endures.”

2) Partnerships, including value-based care arrangements between health insurance providers and health care providers, are driving accountability and improved care quality.

Panelists discussed how care providers participating in value-based arrangements are better positioned to care for their patients during the pandemic.

The pandemic created “the best evidence we’ll ever see of the value of value-based care,” said Will Shrank, chief medical officer at Humana, Inc. “We’re prepaid for our population and it’s our job to deliver the best care for lower costs,” Shrank said, referring to Medicare Advantage. We have structural reasons to partner to foster the best care that we can. It’s good for business. It’s good for patients... The more we create reasons, momentum, energy, and tools, the more adoption [among care providers] you’ll see. More visibility and greater incentives will only be a good thing.”

3) Americans need more access to behavioral health resources, which was exacerbated by the pandemic.

Declining numbers of practitioners and growing care needs, panelists said, require new strategies and partnerships. The health system needs more behavioral health care providers, and more types of them — including LCSWs, coaches, and others — to meet all levels of need. Panel experts called for continuing to strengthen partnerships and integrated care models among primary and behavioral health care providers.

4) Disparities in health care persist and the pandemic highlighted them.

Experts on different panels agreed that health quality depends on health equity, and vice versa. They discussed needing more and better data, and for the data to be shared between care providers and health insurance providers, both public and private. They also stressed investments to address social determinants of health must continue, but with greater specificity.

“The pandemic taught us that you have to dig a level deeper,” to address equity and social determinants of health, said George Aloth, president and CEO, CareFirst Community Health Plan District of Columbia. The availability of telehealth is important, but it is important to know if patients have “broadband, smart phones, or tablets” to access that care.

The quality of data is important and partnering with both physicians and patients to collect more accurate data will unveil unique opportunities, added Maeve McClellan, assistant director, strategic execution, Cambia Health Solutions. Echoing Aloth, she said, “We need better data so we can drill down on specific opportunities.”

5) The pandemic gave notable evidence of the important role health insurance providers hold in our health care system.

Zients told conference attendees: “the country is better off” thanks to efforts made by health insurance providers to help get 215 million people fully vaccinated.

“You’re a critical part of providing care in this country. You demonstrated your power when the vaccine was rolling out, and you quickly and effectively got in touch with millions of people — tens of millions of people — to tell them where they could get vaccinated, to answer their questions, to arrange rides,” Zients said. “You really went above and beyond, and one thing we've learned over the last 14 months is the power of the private and public sector when we work together.”

Registered attendees of the conference can access recordings of sessions and more until May 8, 2022. Didn’t get a chance to register? Registration is open through May 8. Learn more.