Navigating the patient experience in the time of COVID-19

Cynthia Hicks
Cynthia HicksDecember 6, 2021

Navigating the patient experience in the time of COVID-19.

According to our inaugural Patient Experience Survey, the pandemic has created new access and affordability barriers to care, exacerbating the health care concerns of Americans and their families. For many Americans, direct impacts from the pandemic, including loss of income or loss of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, have brought barriers in health care access and affordability to the forefront.

Here are key findings from the report:

The pandemic has exacerbated anxiety around health care access for millions of Americans.

One in five (22%) Americans reported that the pandemic has prevented them from accessing the care they needed, while 4 in 10 Americans reported that this disrupted environment has led to an increase in their anxiety about their family’s ability to access care.

The pandemic has created new barriers disproportionately impacting certain populations and people of color.

For example, parents (62%) and caregivers (59%) are among the most affected by barriers to care created during the pandemic, along with non-white Americans, especially Black Americans (54%). In addition, people in urban areas (49%) are more likely to say the pandemic has made access to health care more difficult than those in rural (32%) and suburban areas (32%).

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Americans need patient-centered, commonsense solutions to improve health care access and affordability.

Many of the access and affordability challenges patients face are driven by less generous health insurance benefits – where patients are paying more but getting less. When it comes to solutions, a majority (59%) of patients prioritize lowering out-of-pocket costs over lowering their premium costs (41%).

Policymakers should look at the entire health care landscape – including structural and social barriers to access in the patient experience – to improve the health care system. Now more than ever, it is more important to advance solutions that make an impact on patients’ lives today. Our patient-centered agenda supports solutions that help end the COVID-19 pandemic, improve health care access and affordability, and address health care inequities.

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