The State of Health Care in Georgia
Through our Georgia-based research, Express Scripts PBM sought to understand Georgians’ perspectives when it comes to accessing care, finding resources and prioritizing whole-person health. The results revealed the challenges related to affordability and access and highlighted the need for greater virtual care and mental health support.
Virtual care bridges gaps to accessing care
Communicating with their health care providers via digital tools or telehealth was not a new practice for Georgians, but its use rapidly increased during the pandemic. Survey participants revealed that 56% plan to continue to use a form of virtual care in the future.
With more education and awareness of digital tools, plan sponsors can bring health care professionals and information directly to patients’ fingertips.
Increasing costs impact access and wallets
The rise of health care costs continues to be a prominent issue for most Americans, and Georgians agree that their concerns about affording their medication is going up. In fact 43% of surveyed participants say their out-of-pockets costs for health care are too high.
It is important for plan sponsors to ensure their members always have real-time access to their drug coverage information and copay amounts. This way members will be able to understand what the specific cost of their prescription will be, and can assess if utilizing a different pharmacy channel may be more beneficial and cost- effective.
A decrease in mental health stigma doesn’t equal understanding
Like most Americans, the challenges of the pandemic and the impacts it had on their daily life affected the mental health of Georgians. The good news is that the majority of them see their mental health like any other illness and feel comfortable talking to their doctor about it.
Despite this, half of Georgians perceive that the health care system treats physical health as more important than mental health and believe this perception can ultimately impact accessing care.
The unfortunate reality is that behavioral health still comes with a level of stigma. It is important for plan sponsors to increase the support for these conditions and offer benefits that will help their members achieve whole person health.
Help is out there… but where?
While most Georgians rate their ability to get the health care they need as excellent or good, factors such as proximity to urban centers and education can impact perceptions of having quality healthcare.
Having the right network strategy in place is an important step at ensuring members have access to care, along with educating them on their options and benefits.