Health insurance and social determinants: Key takeaways from AHIP Institute and Expo 2019

July 15, 2019

Mark Farrah Associates (MFA), a publisher of health plan market data and analytics, recently attended the AHIP Institute and Expo 2019 at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN. MFA reports that the major focus of this year’s gathering of health insurance companies and industry stakeholders was on social determinants of health (SDOH) (i.e., factors such as income, internet access, stable housing, healthy food, and transportation that affect patients’ health).

Speakers talked about the need for payers to focus on “whole person care” and shared their experiences with programs designed to identify and address social and economic barriers to better serve vulnerable populations.

Social determinants of health have long been linked to patient health but not necessarily intertwined with health insurance benefits. MFA says several conference presentations demonstrated how these solutions are now being designed at the health insurer level.

To highlight a few examples, co-presenters from L.A. Care Plan and UPMC Health Plan discussed special housing programs for homeless health plan members which have proven to lower per member per month (PMPM) healthcare costs.

Speakers from Mom’s Meals talked about how meal delivery programs have lowered utilization and costs for dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

In the short term, payers will remain focused on incorporating SDOH factors with health benefits as vendors deliver innovative products and solutions to support these initiatives.