Coaching Financially Stressed Clients

Friday, January 16th, 2009
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Health coaches can help clients make financially sound health decisions. Here’s what we heard during our recent Health and Wellness Coaching 2009 conference.

Question: Are your health coaches seeing an increase in the level of stress among the patients you serve due to the current economic climate? If so, how is this impacting the coaching relationship? Are you providing any additional training to your health coaches right now to address these concerns among your population served?

Response: (Roger Reed, chief consumer engagement architect with Gordian Health Solutions) The answer is absolutely. We are talking with people every day that are not filling prescriptions, taking pills every other day, splitting pills, making decisions about whether to purchase gas or fill a prescription, or to continue paying their membership to the Y. So people are making difficult choices today. We are working with our coaches to help them understand some of these things, and help them stress the importance of taking care of their health. I don’t know what all the answers are for these coaches, but they’re definitely aware of it, and we’re hearing about it on the phones every day.

(Jennifer Hidding, director of interactive health management of consumer solutions at OptumHealth) I think what this is forcing us to evaluate is how do we make health decisions not necessarily so expensive? In the case of prescriptions, you do need to stay on your prescribed dosage, but are there ways of getting a subscription that brings in three months worth of pills so you’re not filling them on a monthly basis where it’s more expensive? We need to be able to provide to cost savings angles wherever we can for our individuals, as well as the reinforcement that a lot of the things in terms of the relationship or the goals that people establish, often are things that can be done through changing your buying habits at the grocery store or getting out to walk. It might not necessarily require a membership at the local health club. Helping individuals realize that managing their health and wellbeing isn’t something that’s that expensive. There are ways
of doing it without all the glitz and glam that we become used to as a society over the last decade or two. You can still be successful just through some of the basics.

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