• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Synchrony GM Explores Synergy of Financial, Physical Wellness

Health is wealth — but all too often, wealth can have an outsize impact on health.

Financial stability directly influences an individual’s ability to access healthcare, particularly preventative services. And in an increasingly interconnected world, the relationship between financial health and physical health has become more apparent and significant.

As Synchrony General Manager of Wellness Claude Royster told PYMNTS, many families delay or forgo necessary medical care due to a lack of understanding of their financial options. Delays that can result in worsened health outcomes and higher long-term costs.

“The patient wants transparency. They want to understand what it is going to cost to get the care that they need — so it is very important that health systems and insurers provide, transparently, what their costs are,” Royster said.

Financial literacy ultimately plays a crucial role in empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their health.

“Patients need to clearly understand what their financing options are, and the different types of assistance that are available to them in order for them to get the care that they need,” Royster said.

This transparency allows individuals to plan and manage their finances better, ensuring they can access necessary care without undue financial strain. And when financial access and education are combined with things like convenient access to preventative care, it can have a true impact on physical well-being.

Financial Health and Physical Health

Preventive care, which includes routine checkups, screenings and vaccinations that help detect and prevent diseases early, is fundamental to maintaining long-term health and mitigating the need for costly medical procedures.

But financial constraints often lead individuals to postpone or skip preventive measures. Royster said understanding financial options can encourage patients to prioritize preventive care, ultimately reducing the incidence of severe health issues.

Educating patients about the importance of preventive care and the financial resources available to them is crucial in addressing this issue, he said, noting that when individuals delay these services due to financial concerns, they risk developing more severe health conditions that require extensive and expensive treatments.

And while the healthcare journey is different for every patient, research shows that certain demographics, such as women, are particularly vulnerable to the negative impact of financial barriers on healthcare access.

Royster said women often find themselves prioritizing their families’ health over their own, leading to delayed or neglected care. This can result in severe health implications, including the development of chronic conditions.

Read more: Women’s Life Stage Priorities in Health and Wellness

Overcoming Financial Barriers to Healthcare

Addressing financial barriers to healthcare requires a multifaceted approach involving education, transparency and innovative financial solutions. Royster highlighted the importance of financial products, like CareCredit, which offer various payment options, including credit cards and installment loans, to help patients manage healthcare costs.

These financial tools enable patients to spread out expenses and avoid postponing necessary care due to immediate financial constraints.

Healthcare providers and insurers also play a crucial role in overcoming financial barriers and ensuring that patients are not deterred from seeking care due to financial uncertainty.

“Having conversations around that optionality helps patients to make better decisions upon about their health and get the care that they need and hopefully have healthier outcomes,” Royster said. “It’s crucial to make sure that patients understand some of the options that they have in order to get the care that they need.”

Ultimately, promoting healthier lifestyles and preventative care through financial education can significantly help to reduce the burden of chronic diseases and improve overall well-being, he added. As individuals become more financially literate and aware of their options, they are better equipped to prioritize their health and access the care they need.

As the world moves toward a more integrated approach to health and wellness, collaboration between financial institutions, healthcare providers and insurers is set to play a pivotal role in ensuring that financial health supports physical health.


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