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How To Fit the Health Care Needs of Today’s Consumers Through Innovation

By Andrea Kao, Vice President of Innovation

Convenience is the name of the game in today’s world. Across nearly every industry, and in health care, businesses are innovating their offerings to fit consumers' wants and needs.

Innovation was pushed forward during the pandemic as care was delivered in non-traditional ways. Telehealth (remote health care services) exploded in the early days of COVID-19. Patients were offered new ways to see a provider without being in the same physical location as that provider, and many jumped at the chance. While the option of seeing a doctor face-to-face will most likely never go away, opportunities to get care in new ways are expanding, creating more efficient and affordable care for everyone.

Seeking Out Care

Most of us are familiar with the routine of seeking out medical help: making appointments with primary care doctors, heading to urgent care when we can’t wait a few days to see a primary care doctor or making the trip to the emergency department when something needs immediate attention. However, when many of us began working and schooling from home in March 2020, we looked to our health care providers and systems to offer care from home. The spring and summer months of 2020 saw a 766% increase in telehealth and telemedicine services. Most of those visits were for brief illnesses or regular check-ins with a primary care physician. This option is still popular today, and we see all generations using and enjoying virtual options.

Consumer-Centric Approach

Telehealth has become convenient. It’s created opportunities to provide care in a way that fits a patient’s schedule. It isn’t always easy to hop in the car and drive 30 minutes each way to see a doctor in the middle of a workday or on a weekend. With the added uncertainty that you may not get to see a provider for a few hours, it’s not the best use of time and energy for anyone. For that space between primary care and emergency care, many now have the expectation that virtual visits will be covered by their insurance.

AH|A: Innovating the Health Care System

As Allina Health | Aetna saw the need for more convenient options for members, our services expanded. We are constantly evaluating innovative care models and programs to offer to our members. In my role as the Vice President of Innovation, I’m always looking for better ways to serve our members. Continuing to offer new options for patients will drive the health care industry forward and enhance the member’s experience.

From text-based primary care to convenience care clinics like Minute Clinic and virtual mental health resources, the demand and technology continue to grow to meet people’s needs. One option for Allina Health | Aetna members on non-Medicare plans is Hinge Health, a digital physical therapy option for patients to do exercises and care programs at home at a time that best fits their schedule. Instead of waiting until the next time they see their physical therapist, they can get support online in between visits to make sure they are doing an exercise correctly. For members with health conditions they need to manage, there are also telehealth options emerging where members can consult a provider about their specific condition and receive coaching and support instead of saving the question for a few months down the road.

Offering new ways to access care means patients may seek care when they need it, instead of waiting until the last possible minute when they may need an even greater number of resources. This is a win for everyone involved, and it leads to better health outcomes for people. Some patients may only see a provider episodically until they reach a certain stage in life, such as a pregnancy for women, when they need more consistent visits. Virtual care gives patients options to decide how and when they invest in a relationship with a provider.

New ways of delivering care can be complementary to traditional care. More options means patients are more likely to seek out the care they need when they need it. As a health insurance company, Allina Health | Aetna will continue to innovate in new and exciting ways alongside health care providers. Working with providers and health systems, insurance companies need to continue to meet the demands of the patients in a way that will serve everyone in the best way possible.

Effective solutions that fit a variety of needs

Our health coverage solutions bring together local expertise with the experience of a leading national insurance brand. We provide plans that deliver the services members value with the type of cost clarity that gives peace of mind.

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Legal Notices: Health benefits and health insurance plans contain exclusions and limitations.

Health benefits and health plans are offered, underwritten or administered by Allina Health and Aetna Insurance Company (Allina Health | Aetna).  Allina Health l Aetna is an affiliate of Aetna Life Insurance Company and its affiliates (Aetna).  Allina Health | Aetna has sole responsibility for its products and services. Aetna provides certain management services to Allina Health | Aetna. Aetna and MinuteClinic, LLC (which either operates or provides certain management support services to MinuteClinic-branded walk-in clinics) are both within the CVS Health family.

Allina Health | Aetna is the brand name used for products and services provided by Allina Health and Aetna Insurance Company.

This material is for information only and is not an offer or invitation to contract. Health benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. Providers are independent contractors and not our agents. Provider participation may change without notice. We do not provide care or guarantee access to health services. Not all health services are covered. See plan documents for a complete description of benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability are subject to change and may vary by location. If you are in a plan that requires the selection of a primary care physician and your primary care physician is part of an integrated delivery system or physician group, your primary care physician will generally refer you to specialists and hospitals that are part of the delivery system or physician group. Information is believed to be accurate as of the production date; however, it is subject to change.

*Applies only to covered services at MinuteClinic. Members in indemnity plans are not eligible for this benefit. Such members should refer to their benefit plan documents in order to determine coverage and applicable cost share for walk-in clinic benefits and services, as applicable. Visit for age and service restrictions. Eligible members enrolled in qualified high-deductible plans must meet their deductible. However, such services would be subject to negotiated contract rates. Once the deductible has been met, members will be able to access MinuteClinic services at no cost share. Aetna and MinuteClinic, LLC (which either operates or provides certain management support services to MinuteClinic-branded walk-in clinics) are both within the CVS Health family. Aetna is not responsible for services received at MinuteClinic locations. 98point6 and 98point6 physicians are independent contractors and are neither agents nor employees of Allina Health | Aetna or plans administered by Allina Health | Aetna and does not guarantee that a prescription will be written.

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