New Research from Alegeus Technologies Finds That Seventy Percent of HSA Account Holders Cannot Pass a Basic HSA Proficiency Quiz
Published on July 8th, 2014
Alegeus Technologies, the market leader in healthcare and benefit payments, today announced the results of its 2014 Consumer and Employer Healthcare Benefits Survey, an innovative survey that explores consumer and employer attitudes and perceptions regarding account-based health plans (including HSAs, FSAs and HRAs). Commissioned by Alegeus and conducted by a third party research firm, the study polled more than 1,000 consumers and 500 employer health benefit decision-makers. Results point to a significant consumer education gap and a need for enhanced decision-support resources to help consumers better manage their ever-growing responsibility for healthcare purchase and funding.
High deductible health plans and HSAs have been in the market for over a decade now – and FSAs and HRAs have been around for much longer. Adoption rates (particularly for HDHPs, HSAs and HRAs) continue to accelerate rapidly, which was reinforced by survey responses. Yet the research results are clear – consumers, and even current account holders specifically, do not fully understand them. Only 30% of current HSA account holders passed a basic HSA proficiency quiz; and, at a 50% pass rate on the FSA proficiency quiz, FSA account holders did not score much better. Particularly for HSAs, a lack of understanding of the full account value proposition may be hindering adoption – as more than 40% still view HSAs as spending accounts, exhibiting a lack of understanding of the ability to save beyond the plan year or invest HSA funds.
Another clear gap identified by the research relates to employer benefit communication and support. Survey findings revealed that most employers today offer limited benefit support. Sixty-five (65) percent communicate about health benefit enrollment only during open the enrollment period. Nearly sixty (60) percent rely only on plan summary documents and enrollment forms to communicate benefit plan/account options, and only a third offer interactive tools such as plan comparison calculators. Interestingly, in terms of quality of communication and support, employers seem to think they are doing a better job than consumers perceive they are doing. In their assessment of the quality of various aspects of employer benefit communications (clarity, depth, format, personalization and frequency), consumer ratings were consistently 20% lower than employer ratings.
Consumers value variety of options and freedom to choose the plans, accounts and features that are right for their unique situation. Nearly 70% of consumers indicated that they would ideally like a wider array of plan options than is currently offered by their employer. That desire for choice extends beyond plan/account selection to include account features, such as the ability to choose their own HSA custodian. Forty-seven (47) percent want to be able to choose their HSA bank versus having their employer choose for them, and 41% want their HSA managed by the same bank that manages their personal accounts.
Not surprisingly, the research findings confirm that consumers value account features that simplify the healthcare funding experience. Debit cards and multi-channel (web/mobile) account access were ranked highly by survey participants – with more than 65% rating those features as extremely valuable. Sixty (60) percent of consumers highly value self-service features such as the ability to submit claims via mobile devices. Seventy-five (75) percent of consumers value integration of benefit accounts and insurance claim data to streamline the process of reviewing and paying medical bills.
As consumers continue to assume greater responsibility for their healthcare purchase and funding, there is tremendous opportunity to help streamline and simplify the consumer healthcare experience,” said Steve Auerbach, CEO, Alegeus. “Alegeus is at the forefront of this shift, providing a comprehensive platform to enable consumer healthcare saving and spending, including powerful consumer engagement and decision-support tools and unique capabilities such as a multi-bank HSA offering.
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.