Alegeus Reveals That Consumers Want More From Open Enrollment Experiences, Still Struggle to Understand Healthcare Costs
Published on March 8th, 2021
Waltham, MA – Mar. 9, 2021 – Alegeus, the market-leader in consumer directed health care (CDH) solutions, today released the results of its 2021 Post-Open Enrollment Survey. The survey, which was designed to capture consumer sentiment coming out of the open enrollment period, revealed that consumers are still struggling to make benefit enrollment decisions. Survey questions covered many topics such as the impact of COVID-19 on needs and preferences, employer support for enrollment decision-making, consumer decision criteria and confidence, barriers and opportunities – as well as specific viewpoints on consumer directed accounts.
Consumer health and financial fluency challenges are well documented, and we know that consumers often feel ill-prepared to navigate open enrollment decisions,” said Alegeus CEO, Leif O’Leary. “Consumers often lack the knowledge and confidence to make savvy decisions that will deliver the best value for their family’s unique situation. These insights confirm that, as an industry, we still have work to do to help consumers feel confident and make savvier enrollment decisions.
In an unprecedented year shaped by a global pandemic, 36% of participants said COVID-19 caused them to look more closely at their health plans options for the coming year. However, despite this proactivity, 63% of those consumers still enrolled in the same plan as the year prior. Familiarity with the plan and coverage were cited as primary reasons for sticking with current plans. Cost and value were cited as top decision criteria for 45% of consumers.
Only 43% of consumers rated their open enrollment experience as “positive”. Many pointed to limited support from employers in helping them navigate these decisions:
- 48% of consumers said that their employer did not provide enough educational resources such as videos, flyers, and decision support tools, to prepare them for enrollment decisions.
- Only 40% of consumers felt prepared to make decisions regarding their health care plan.
Consumers continue to grapple with understanding and predicting healthcare costs. 21% struggled most with forecasting out of pocket costs or determining optimal contribution amounts, while 20% felt that they simply could not discern which option would provide the best for them and their family. Another 10% of survey responders acknowledged that they fundamentally didn’t understand the options that were available.
Consumer directed healthcare accounts continued to feature prominently among enrolled benefits – offering strong value to help consumers save on out-of-pocket health care expenses:
- 43% of consumers surveyed decided to enroll in an account such as Flexible Saving Account (FSA), Health Saving Account (HSA), and Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA).
- 13% of the consumers opted into a new or different type of account for the first time.
Despite their struggles, 76% of consumers ultimately said that they feel at least somewhat confident that they had chosen the right health plan for them.
At Alegeus, we are laser-focused on helping consumers get the best value for their healthcare dollars – taking the guesswork out of spending and saving decisions, and helping them navigate healthcare decision-making with confidence,” said O’Leary. “We conduct surveys like this to better understand where consumers are struggling across the industry. With these insights, we will continue to innovate and improve our market-leading consumer funding platform – so that we can continue to expand our reach and impact on the 30+ million consumers that we support.
Alegeus is the market leader in consumer-directed healthcare solutions, offering an industry-leading benefits platform, benefit debit card and mobile app that are transforming the way people navigate the U.S. healthcare system. Our next-generation technology simplifies the administration of healthcare benefit accounts (including FSAs, HSAs, HRAs, wellness incentive, dependent care and commuter accounts), and uses data-driven insights to guide consumers to the right coverage, care and savings strategies. More than 350 Alegeus clients – including health insurance plans and third-party administrators – leverage our deep expertise and proven technology to administer benefit accounts for more than 30 million members and to process more than $9.1 billion in consumer healthcare payments annually. As the healthcare and benefit markets continue to evolve, Alegeus delivers solutions that enable clients to evolve their service offerings, operate their businesses more efficiently, and lead consumers to better health and financial decisions. The company is headquartered in Waltham, MA with operations in Orlando, FL and Milwaukee, WI.