What advice would you give your younger self?
Change is inevitable, so rather than be the one reacting to it, be the one to lead it. Our health care system continues to transform itself as it confronts very real and very personal challenges. We can either choose to follow the pack and react, or we can be the change, and lead with new and fresh ideas to make a difference.
What story in our industry impacted you the most in 2017/2018 and why?
The opioid crisis impacted every aspect of our society from local communities and government agencies to employers and providers. It hit home for a lot of people and made talking about some of the issues not so taboo., The epidemic and a lot of the high-profile news around it ignited a necessary national conversation around behavioral health and opioid prescription guidelines, which will hopefully translate to solutions.
If you could fix one small problem in your field what would that be?
There is a lot of health care information available to consumers, but most of what’s out there is really complicated and not personalized or engaging. The industry needs to do a better job of making health insurance simple and intuitive, so consumers understand and take full advantage of it and realize they have a partner in their health care. There are so many more benefits beyond just having your claims paid. We offer health advocates and benefits advisors, cost comparison tools, condition management resources and so much more.
What is the one thing you predict will absolutely happen in health care in 2019?
While I don’t believe in absolutes, we’ll see mobile technology continue to play a significant role in consumers’ health care experiences from telehealth to chronic condition management apps and personal health coaching. Consumers have immediate access to information when and how they want it, and we’ll continue to work to optimize those experiences and encourage engagement, particularly when it comes to managing costs and improving outcomes.
Will the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JP Morgan partnership revolutionize health care – yes or no?
We’ll have to wait and see! There are so many opportunities to improve health care, which is extraordinary complex and fragmented. What I do know is there are people working together every day across the industry and in our communities to develop ways to help people live healthier lives – and that’s exciting.
Tom Meier is responsible for the development and management of market-leading products and services, consumer and member engagement and marketing communications for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Prior to joining the company in 2010, Tom served in a number of roles at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, where he focused on the development of national consumer-directed health plan products and services across the Blue Cross and Blue Shield system, as well as product and consumer tool development efforts for the Federal Employee Program.
Tom is a member of the board of directors for the Institute on Health Care Costs and Solutions, which was established by the National Business Group on Health. Tom also serves on the advisory board of the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. He earned a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science and theatre from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.