The Healthcare Abyss Post Covid: What’s Different

That depends on the definition of health care. There’s health insurance (private, exchange, Medicare et al). In addition, there is the day-to-day care that individuals exercise with respect to their own health.

Let’s look at this simple question as it relates to one’s own health. If you have a cold, cough, fever. What’s the first thing you do? Covid test. The conventional “flu” has gone by the wayside. Prior to Covid, a variety of surveys indicated that only roughly 50% of people got flu shots. Now, an individual can get a variety of vaccines: flu, covid, covid age 65+, pneumonia, and the list goes on. What will individuals do? As more potential Covid variants emerge, who knows?

With respect to health insurance, Covid provided a level of education for many people especially for those who were very ill from the virus. Welcome to the world of deductibles, copays, coinsurance and more. Many individuals and families were faced with the reality of what their health insurance actually covered. While the government did offer support and continues to provide Covid testing and vaccinations at no cost, health care costs in general continue to overwhelm people. What is the cost of “good” coverage for a family? Where does that fall in a family’s priority of expenses?

Financial advisors often recoil from the healthcare discussion. Healthcare encompasses more than saving for healthcare expenses during retirement, although that is of critical importance. Anyone over age 65 can tell you the deficiencies of Medicare and its supplements. The cost of current healthcare expenses needs to be addressed, too. Open enrollment season is here and studies have found that a majority of employees don’t review their options; they merely enroll in the same option as they did the previous year. A survey conducted by JustWorks for its Health Insurance Knowledge Snapshot in June 2022, found that 63% of the employees surveyed don’t change their health insurance election from year to year because it is too stressful.  Medicare enrollment begins this week and continues for eight weeks. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, during the 2019-2020 Medicare Enrollment only 10.1% of those participants in Medicare Advantage voluntarily switched plans.

We’ll be taking a new look at healthcare. Financial Advisors should, too.