Frustrated and Ill-Prepared to Manage their Healthcare Finances, 90% of Individuals Resolve to Be Savvier Healthcare Consumers, Alegeus Study Find

Consumers are optimistic when it comes to the future of their healthcare finances, yet frustrated with reality: their lack of knowledge and control greatly inhibits them from making savvy decisions on healthcare saving and spending. These findings are part of a report released today by consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) solutions provider Alegeus. The survey results reflect a growing problem – consumers are assuming more responsibility, yet they are unprepared and, in some cases, unwilling to take accountability.

Despite year-over-year increases between 2014 and 2016 in the number of U.S. workers enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with a savings component, 63 percent of consumers don’t know the benefits of a health savings account (HSA), and nearly one in three feel no better today about managing their healthcare finances than when they first got healthcare on their own. Consumers’ low confidence seems to stem from a lack of institutional trust and understanding about their coverage and how to maximize insurance benefits. When asked what words reflected survey respondents’ feelings about healthcare, only 17 percent described feeling hopeful. Most consumers reported feeling frustrated, confused, overwhelmed, skeptical and powerless.

Alegeus’ findings echo what we consistently hear in the market,” said John Young, Consumerdriven CEO. “It’s clear there’s work to be done to bridge the gap between what consumers say they want and what they’re properly equipped and motivated to do.

Survey findings revealed interesting parallels between what people think and how they behave:

  • More than 50 percent of consumers fear being hit with a big and unexpected healthcare expense they cannot afford, and 68 percent of consumers enrolled in healthcare benefit accounts (HSA/FSA/HRA) consider themselves to be savers; yet, only 23 percent of consumers save beyond the current year and the majority of consumers under-fund their healthcare savings each year.
  • One third of consumers (32 percent) were optimistic about the future of their personal healthcare finances but expressed negative feelings when they think of healthcare today.
  • Seven out of ten consumers (70 percent) say they want to take a more active role in their healthcare overall, but only half of consumers (50 percent) intend to do more diligence this year when making their healthcare purchase decisions. Forty-three percent of consumers have never visited their health account portal, called the toll-free number, subscribed to receive communications or downloaded the mobile application. Furthermore, only one out of three benefit account participants (36 percent) have visited their providers’ online site and just one out of ten participants (10 percent) have downloaded their mobile application.
  • Thirty-nine percent of consumers enrolled in healthcare benefit accounts rated their understanding of the offerings as competent, yet only three out of ten HSA account holders can pass a basic proficiency test with 26 percent not knowing they can use HSA funds beyond the immediate plan year and 41 percent not knowing they can invest HSA funds.
  • Fifty percent of consumers think healthcare providers can improve their experience through human interaction that answers their questions, makes recommendations or validates their thinking, but they expressed significant distrust of the health system, doctors, employers, benefit providers and employer HR representatives when determining how much to save for healthcare costs and which plan to select during open enrollment.
  • Sixty-eight percent of consumers believe they’re healthy, yet more than 68 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese and about half of all adults – 117 million individuals – have one or more chronic health conditions.
This research affirms that consumers feel the impact of the consumerism movement in healthcare and they need help to manage their increased financial responsibilities,” said Steven Auerbach, Alegeus CEO. “There is tremendous opportunity for the future winners in healthcare to create a real environment that supports and guides consumers. At Alegeus, we engage consumers through account-based benefits (such as HSAs, FSAs and HRAs) during critical healthcare spending and saving “moments of truth” with programs and support designed to empower informed decision-making and more active involvement that maximizes the value of consumers’ healthcare dollars.

Learn more about the Alegeus research:

About Alegeus

With more than 25 years of growth and innovation, Alegeus is the market leader in SaaS-based healthcare payment solutions. Our highly flexible, white-label platform powers account-based benefit programs such as HSAs, FSAs, HRAs, COBRA, wellness incentives, lifestyle benefits and beyond. We deliver exceptional user experiences and differentiated capabilities that help our partners strengthen their product offerings, operate more efficiently, and unlock their full growth potential. Our partnerships with the industry’s leading health plans, third-party administrators, financial services and benefit solution providers give Alegeus unparalleled reach in the market. And our unique partnership model empowers our clients to achieve outsized results – growing their programs at a rate that is 2-3X the market, and with the highest net promoter scores (NPS) in the industry. We never compete with our clients – we win when they win. Alegeus is headquartered in Waltham, Mass., with operations centers in Orlando and Bangalore, and a large remote workforce.

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