The wide-ranging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have challenged every area of the healthcare industry. For example, aside from hospitals and medical researchers, much is also demanded of healthcare administration as it costs almost $250 billion to process and regulate 30 billion healthcare-related transactions every year.

Another highly important area of the medical industry that has been challenged by COVID-19 is healthcare payers. However, in spite of the obstacles placed against them, healthcare payers are proving that they are absolutely essential to national health.

How Healthcare Payers Help

Public and private health payers help provide access to medication, therapy, and other necessary treatment options to those with chronic diseases. This support has been especially critical within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as the national economic situation has threatened the accessibility of essential treatments for many patients with chronic illnesses. Healthcare payer support normally covers provisions to deal with natural disaster challenges, usually resulting from hurricanes, tornados, and floods.

Demands Set Upon Healthcare Payers

The historic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic — along with its series of unforeseen consequences — has brought about a series of circumstances and demands upon healthcare payers, such as providing long term respiratory treatment for those affected by COVID-19 and dealing with the tertiary effects of the economic recession on the commercial market. Although these demands will certainly impact costs, current forecasts appear to be lower than projected before the pandemic kicked in full force. According to a study conducted by America’s Health Insurance Plans, the current projection of costs for the 2020-2021 period is set to max out at $546.6 billion.

A Hazy Look Ahead

The pandemic and its resulting quarantine, along with overarching health concerns from the population, have brought about a reduction in demand for medical procedures. While it may pose a threat to some of those who are in need of care for reasons unrelated to COVID-19, this radical decrease might end up being beneficial to the economic position of healthcare payers. Healthcare payers can then turn and support marginalized patients who, in actuality, are in great need of medical attention. This represents a stark difference between the pandemic and other types of natural disasters, where illnesses that are deemed non-essential remain as such for quite some time.

Despite this fact, there are still many undetermined circumstances and threats ahead during the next 12 to 18 months, which may change the situation described here. Healthcare payers — just as many other important players in our economy — are not completely “out of the woods” quite yet, at least not until we can see a tangible trend toward the eradication of the COVID-19 virus.