Planning for Tomorrow’s Healthcare Landscape — Peter W. McCauley, Sr.

Point of View
3 min readMay 13, 2024
Peter W. McCauley, Sr.

Healthcare insurers face multifaceted challenges that demand strategic planning and action. The rising demand for glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), drugs that improve blood sugar and can lead to weight loss, features prominently in news coverage. At the same time, there is an ongoing mental health crisis that needs to be addressed.

At the recent Becker’s Payer Issues Roundtable, Johanna Vidal-Phelan, Andrew Naugle and I explored “Navigating the Future of Healthcare: Trends and Challenges for Health Plan Executives.” Moderated by Jakob Emerson, our conversation tackled various pressing issues, chief among them how to manage GLP-1 coverage and integrate better mental health services, especially in terms of addressing teens and young adults. Here are some of the takeaways.

GLP-1s have emerged as a primary driver of drug trends for insurers. However, their escalating costs and expanding market present financial implications that cannot be ignored. With a price tag of around $15,000 per patient per year and the market projected to exceed $100 billion by 2030, insurers are under pressure to balance the need for access with the imperative of managing costs.

To address this challenge, insurers are exploring innovative strategies designed to provide financial predictability while ensuring access for eligible patients.

Concurrently, we are confronted with the alarming rise in behavioral health issues, with 50% of people not receiving adequate care if they receive care at all. Recognizing the critical link between physical and mental health, insurers are prioritizing the integration of mental health services into their offerings. Initiatives include screening for behavioral health conditions through primary care physicians, sharing data with healthcare providers to facilitate coordinated care, and offering support for navigating the behavioral health ecosystem.

This is especially important in terms of young people. Suicide rates have increased by 35% over the last 20 years, making it the second leading cause of death in people aged 15–19. Research has highlighted that the barriers teens and young adults face include lack of awareness, difficulty finding trusted providers, and cost concerns. Addressing these challenges requires collaborative efforts to raise awareness and provide support for youth mental health.

Innovative approaches include collaborating with pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, technology firms, and community organizations to develop comprehensive solutions. By leveraging cross-industry skills such as healthcare expertise, financial acumen, data analytics, strategic partnerships, and communication skills, insurers can effectively address both the challenges of GLP-1 coverage and the youth mental health crisis.

Effective communication with clients, stakeholders, and the public is paramount. Building trust, managing expectations, and raising awareness of available resources are key components of successful initiatives. This holistic approach ensures that healthcare remains accessible, effective, and equitable for all, paving the way for a healthier future for individuals and communities alike.

Peter W. McCauley, Sr. has a 30-year track record of profitable, inclusive healthcare leadership. He is a well-respected, actively practicing pediatrician serving Chicago’s far south side for over 25 years. His expertise in value-based health care, combined with the ability to influence provider groups and hospital systems to adopt this reimbursement model vs. standard fee for service, showcases his proficiency in innovation, negotiation, and collaboration. His overarching aim is to improve quality outcomes for patients while making healthcare more affordable for all.

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