In the first of a regular series, we speak with member CEO, Mark Komlenic, President & CEO of Albert Blue Cross.
“In a competitive market, how do organisations bring down the barriers so we can learn together and create opportunities to accelerate our successes together?”
Tell us about Alberta Blue Cross
While Mark Komlenic serves as President and CEO of Alberta Blue Cross, he describes himself as a proud Alberta Blue Cross team member. Mark is quick to point out that he works with an amazing group of people—and his enthusiasm for his people shines through. As one of the largest benefit providers in Western Canada, Alberta Blue Cross processes more than 77.2 million claim lines annually with a value of almost $4 billion. The organisation administers a wide range of employer group plans, personal health plans, wellbeing initiatives and government- sponsored programmes.
Mark says “Our vision at Alberta Blue Cross is to have a meaningful and ongoing presence in our customers’ lives and have a positive impact on their wellbeing. We want to be there for them and with them at the most important times of their lives.”
What topics are most pressing for the health insurance sector?
The current economic forecast: the health of business is directly related to the health of people, both financial and physical. It’s clear there are tough times ahead and no matter what is going on at the local or regional level, the reality is that global market forces are already impacting us all.
Population Health: Mark explains that Alberta Blue Cross is interested in wellbeing and taking a long-term view of health. Health systems across the world have become good at responding to crisis. We can treat and manage disease once it manifests, but the next big shift will be into preventative care.
He cites Type 2 Diabetes as an example where preventative care prior to disease state could delay the onset of health problems by 10-15 years. The opportunity of getting this right is that everybody wins: the benefit provider, the health care system and of course, the customers.
Mental Health: the COVID-19 pandemic exposed a disconnection between how we approach physical health and mental health. Mental health is still spoken about as an event where we either have it or we don’t. Instead we need to be talking about mental wellbeing, which is ongoing throughout our lives.
What are the biggest opportunities for health insurers?
Mark is expecting the role of benefit providers to shift and sees that getting preventative care right creates big opportunities to work with employers for healthier, happier, and more productive employees. For example:
· supporting employers to do more to really look after employee wellbeing;
· improving the health of aging populations, enabling people to live better lives.
· bringing down insurance costs by improving the overall health within an organisation.
Strategic partnerships are the way to achieve these ambitious goals. Effective partnerships give us access to expertise we don’t have and vice versa, which is essential in our complex and rapidly changing world. According to Mark, iFHP’s CEO Forum is a great example of how to share expertise in a way that benefits all members.
“In a competitive market, how do organisations bring down the barriers so we can learn together and create opportunities to accelerate our successes together?” Mark asks.
“Getting preventative care right creates big opportunities for the members of our industry to work with employers for healthier, happier and more productive employees,” he says.