Amid a mental health crisis and a possible recession, those in the field of employee health benefits are preparing for several challenges ahead. Key among those challenges is uncertainty, one executive said.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now about what the economic environment is going to look like, how the mental health crisis is going to play out,” said Cassidy Rouse, senior vice president of growth partnerships and corporate health at Pelotonexercise company.
Rose made the comments last week during a panel on employee health at the HLTH 2022 conference in Las Vegas. He said that during this period of uncertainty, Peloton’s employer partners will need flexibility.
“They’re going to have to be really adaptable, they’re going to need options,” Rouse said. “They’re going to need partners that can work with them that are data-driven, have many different types of content, many technologies that they can deploy, that are across multiple platforms. You will need to adapt over the next year or 18 months. We’re trying to be much more modular, much more technology-driven in how we deliver these solutions.”
Sohini Stone, chief medical officer for global employee health at Googleechoed Rose’s comments.
“The biggest challenge is in this world of uncertainty that Cassidy described is to make sure that we take this opportunity to learn, to be flexible and to try some new things,” Stone said on the panel. “For example, we thought we were done with the pandemic, we didn’t know that at the same time we would have an economic crisis, and of course we are learning new ways of working. It’s really important for us to listen to our employees and the experience they have, use that to learn and develop how we create that flexibility.”
During this period of innovation, employees will need help navigating their benefits. With so many different solutions entering the market when it comes to employee health, workers are struggling to find the best way to get care, said Tiffany Miller, chief digital technology officer at Fidelity.
“There are so many great proposals coming to the fore in all of this, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for employees to actually be able to navigate from finding care to receiving care all the way to actually paying for care,” Miller said . “We need to start figuring out how to actually make this network a little more seamless and be able to provide people with guidance and bring up the right information at the right time so they can make better choices for themselves and their families.” “
For Henry Ting, chief health officer of Delta Air Lines, the biggest challenges ahead are cost and innovation.
“As a self-insured employer, at Delta Air Lines, we spend over one billion dollars on health, wellness and well-being, and we continue to make that investment,” Ting said. “Looking at this budget and looking at what we’re spending it on, it really comes back to, ‘What’s the value? What is the value to our people, employees, dependents and customers of these costs?” … Which brings me to the innovation part. We are not looking for incremental innovation. We need disruptive and radical innovation in this space to rethink and truly transform the digital, technology and navigation space to create a better world for our people.”
However, partnerships are vital to making a difference, Ting added.
“I don’t think there’s a one-point solution or one stakeholder that’s going to get us there,” he said.
Photo: VectorInspiration, Getty Images