Reflecting on another historic year and planning for a healthy 2023
While 2022 was certainly filled with challenges, there’s also been a lot to celebrate from the last year. This includes a greater focus on mental and behavioral health care needs and access, lower-cost prescription drug options, a new national crisis hotline, advances in technology and more.
Below is a recap of popular reads and highlights from the Regence blog in 2022. On behalf of the entire Regence team, we wish you and your loved ones all the best this holiday season and in new year.
COVID-19 over-the-counter testing and resources
It’s hard to believe the COVID-19 pandemic began nearly three years ago. But it’s encouraging to see the advances made to safely protect and treat ourselves from the still-evolving coronavirus and its variants. Our top 2022 blog post is the current over-the-counter COVID-19 testing story, which includes the White House’s announcement to provide four more at-home COVID tests per household at no cost. Regence members can visit our regence.com COVID resources page for more information.
Preventive care like vaccines, heart health checkups and breast cancer screenings
Routine check-ups, tests and vaccines, often called preventive care, improve our chances of staying healthy. During the pandemic, we saw how delayed medical care during COVID-19 increases health risks. The truth is that vaccines protect all of us and at every stage of life. Early detection of illness and health conditions can also save lives. This includes prioritizing your own health by knowing your risk factors for heart health and the benefits of detecting breast cancer early.
Bottom line: Make your health a priority in 2023 and stay on top of your preventive care.
Making health care more affordable
As health care costs continue to rise, we are finding ways to make high-quality health care more affordable for our members. In 2022, we shared how one team at Regence works tirelessly to ensure our members’ provider bills are paid right for the care they received. Their collective work since 2015 has saved Regence members nearly $16 million in out-of-pocket costs.
This year, we began rolling out a new pre-authorization approval workflow using artificial intelligence, a first-of-its-kind for a health plan in our four-state footprint. Benefits include improving speed-to-care for the more than 3.4 million people we serve through Regence health plans and reducing provider burdens for select medical policies.
Accessing high-value care including biosimilar drug treatments and telehealth
Regence announced in 2022 the success we’ve had helping members switch to lower-cost drug alternatives known as biosimilars. Our industry-leading work with biosimilars adoption led to a 95 percent increase in the use of these lower-cost treatments by health plan members, reducing specialty drug spend by $37 million annually.
The U.S. health care system has experienced a rapid increase in the use of telehealth since the COVID-19 pandemic began, both for mental and physical care needs. At Regence, we saw telehealth visits for behavioral health increase eight times from 2019 to 2021—and many experts believe telehealth’s popularity will continue.
Expanding mental and behavioral health care resources and support
If you or a loved one is having a hard time with a mental or behavioral health issue, you’re not alone. We continue to experience a historic need for care while many people struggle to find help.
As a large majority of U.S. adults say our nation if facing a mental health crisis, it’s important to understand the different mental and behavioral health provider types and how to access care. In 2022, Regence proudly expanded virtual care resources and support to help members find the care they need, either online or by working with one of our award-winning Regence customer service professionals.
This year we also saw the introduction of 988, a new national lifeline for suicide prevention and mental health crisis support. Services are open to all ages, whether you’re a teenager (or have one) using social media or having concerns about cyberbullying, or feeling overwhelmed by stress or burned out from work.
Regence Customer Service can help
Whether you’re trying to find an in-network doctor, compare drug costs or have another health care need, we can help. Members can sign in to their account on regence.com to explore their health plan benefits as well as live chat or message a Customer Service team member. We can also be reached for help by calling the number on your member ID card.