Hello, and welcome to AHIP 2022.
I am so delighted to see every single one of you here in the audience today.
What a great feeling to be in person and all together for AHIP’s flagship event – for the first time since 2019.
Three years to the day – 1,096 days ago—we closed AHIP Institute in Nashville.
We also retired the Institute name.
Now we are back with AHIP 2022 – live and getting back the moments we’ve all missed.
Thank you to everyone for making the trip and joining us this week.
To be here today, we have taken every precaution to ensure this is a safe, comfortable, and highly valuable conference for you.
As a reminder, we have rapid testing available onsite, stringent cleaning protocols, masks and hand sanitizers. We want everyone to feel as comfortable as possible.
If you have any questions, please see a member of our talented conferences team. They’ll be happy to help you.
And a big thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors – they are here and ready to help take your business to the next level.
Three Years of Change
For the next few days, AHIP 2022 will focus on the insights and innovations driving the future of health care.
And that drive for innovation is lifting up our industry.
I want to reflect for a minute on how much has changed since we last held this conference live in June 2019.
Our country…our economy…our society…and the world have undergone dramatic transformations.
COVID-19 would not truly enter our vocabulary until early 2020…and think for a moment about how many times the word COVID or Coronavirus has crossed your lips since then – but here we are despite the hardships and loss, moving forward to a brighter day.
Of course, the political environment has changed a lot since 2019, and the country is quite divided.
Think about our economy.
In June 2019, cryptocurrency was becoming more common in our consciousness.
Bitcoin broke $10,000 consistently for the first time that June. This past November, it almost hit $69,000, though it’s come back down.
As so much of our engagement with American businesses moved to a virtual experience with the pandemic shutdown, from grocery shopping to restaurants to health care.
Digital commerce exploded. Digital commerce alone in the U.S. this year will now make it about the 20th largest economy on the planet – equal to the GDP of Switzerland.
And digital health – especially through telehealth – is not far behind and up to more than a quarter of a trillion dollars.
Think about how we work.
By a show of hands, how many people worked in an office 5 days a week in 2019?
And how many of you in 2022 work 5 days a week in an office?
How many of you WANT to go back 5 days a week in the office?
And think about how we engage. Not just for work, but for our social relationships.
How many Zoom meetings have you endured at work or had with friends and family over the past 3 years?
The Impact on Health Care
All of these changes – and many more – have impacted our day-to-day lives. And that includes health care.
Our health care experience has been – and continues to be – reshaped and reconfigured to fit the digital world and the physical world.
We don’t always know where one ends and the other begins now.
Virtual care may even be incorporated into a physical care setting when you are meeting face-to-face with your physician.
This connectivity is critical to our overall health and wellbeing, and it is growing by leaps and bounds.
Nowhere is this transformation more profound than in the arena of mental health.
In fact, over 40% of all visits for psychotherapy in 2020 were done through telehealth, a 100-fold increase from 2019.
We’re using apps for day-to-day support for managing chronic conditions or taking a mental health break.
And to power it all, we are consuming and analyzing more information than ever through virtual platforms, including health data.
We are increasing our use of artificial intelligence.
…to diagnose conditions…to predict outcomes…to identify conditions…to prioritize patient care…and even to interpret imaging. And we’re increasingly integrating with partners across the health care sector.
And, of course, let us never forget the more than one million American lives lost directly from COVID and the countless others that were lost – perhaps because they were too afraid to seek treatment or delayed doing so because of COVID.
But while we’ve experienced dramatic changes these past 3 years, some things have not changed.
Like health care that still costs too much in our country.
We are expected to spend $4.5 trillion on health care this year – 20% of our economy or nearly $14,000 for every person in the U.S.
AHIP and our member companies are still laser focused on health care affordability and continue to advocate for expanded access to coverage and care.
And as we emerge from the pandemic, we find ourselves with new opportunities to improve affordability – Healthier People Through Healthier Markets – taking the lessons we have learned over the past 3 years to sustainably improve innovation, competition, and consumer choice.
COVID-19 highlighted how critical it is to address these factors, which drive our ability to improve and sustain health and wellbeing of under-represented and underserved communities, with a greater sense of urgency.
AHIP’s Vaccine Community Connectors program was a prime example of this, helping to vaccinate more than 2 million seniors against COVID-19 in under 100 days.
Our drive to innovate and deliver positive change remains a core commitment.
We saw the power of innovation during the onset of COVID, as the nation created and developed tests, therapies, and vaccines that have proven essential in overcoming the pandemic.
That spirit of innovation is just as necessary as we look to take the lessons from COVID and adopt as many as possible for sustained health care improvement.
While we certainly have had our share of challenges, there have also been important advances in health care over the past 3 years.
We have seen the end of surprise medical bills in many health care settings, and we continue to oppose any attempts to roll back these vital consumer protections.
The No Surprises Act avoided over 2 million surprise bills in the first 2 months of 2022, and if the trend holds, we’ll see 12 million avoided for the entire year—almost 33,000 a day.
By the time we get to the end of our second panel, that will be equal to a surprise bill avoided for every single person in attendance here today.
We have seen increased flexibility and growth in the Medicare Advantage program, especially with telehealth.
We have also seen major growth in Medicaid, Medicaid managed care and the ACA marketplace.
And we’ve seen an increasing awareness of the benefits of mental health support, and a surge in people seeking the care they need.
A recent AHIP poll found that 3 out of 4 insured Americans found it easy to get the mental health support they needed, and 90% reported being satisfied with the care they received.
We are thinking differently about health, and the care that is so essential for every single one of us.
Looking to the Future
As we move through 2022 and beyond, we understand that much work remains, as health insurance providers guiding greater health.
…on advancing health equity and removing social barriers to health.
…pushing for more flexibility in telehealth and making it permanent.
…working to improve the affordability of care and essential treatments like prescription drugs.
…ensuring that consumer health information remains protected, especially as new app developers engage in the health care space.
…working to make sure that no one loses their coverage and that it remains affordable when the public health emergency ends.
In everything we do, we are working hard to ensure that hundreds of millions of Americans can continue to rely on the coverage that is so important to their health and financial stability.
As you experience AHIP 2022, live and in-person, I hope you take advantage of every opportunity to gain new and unique insights on the health care industry.
To learn best practices…and to identify the transformative innovations that will help us meet our most pressing challenges.
Our lineup this year features some of the most thoughtful, well-respected leaders from across all industries.
Experience as much as you can and take it back to your colleagues and leadership.
But this conference is about more than listening, it’s about fostering innovation and working on the problems of the future today.
It’s about taking action.
We’re always looking for the next big idea.
We don’t have all the answers, but we are working on it and need the best minds in our sector to engage. And that means everyone here.
These big ideas are already unfolding around the country.
Like launching virtual primary care platforms that can give members access to the health care they need, when and where they need it.
Or creating new delivery models to close health disparity gaps and ensure that under-resourced communities get the care they need.
Or developing digital maternal health solutions that can connect expecting mothers with mental health experts, OB-GYN experts, dietitians, and other health care professionals.
We’ve come so far and seen great work already.
And we’re excited to see what’s coming next.
Above all, this conference is a chance to make personal connections, or for some, reconnections.
Whether this is your first time attending, or your 10th, reach out and engage with someone you’ve never met before.
There’s an amazing collection of talent in this room.
Please spend time and visit with our Exhibitors and Sponsors who have developed some of the most innovative products and services to help address the industry’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.
And make sure you ask questions during our panel sessions, browse our Expo floor, and reconnect with old friends (or make new ones).
It’s all here waiting for you.
We know the next 6 months…the next 6 years…and beyond are going to have their share of challenges.
But they are full of opportunities as well.
At AHIP, our vision remains clear.
Every American deserves access to affordable, high quality health coverage and care.
And every American should be supported in achieving their best health.
I want to thank you for your leadership. Your engagement. And your commitment to serve the health care needs of our nation.