Frustrated and Ill-Prepared to Manage Their Healthcare Finances, 90% of Individuals Resolve to Be Savvier Healthcare Consumers, Alegeus Survey Finds

Yet new research reveals sobering reality: amidst widespread health illiteracy, consumers turn to each other for advice on healthcare and finances

WALTHAM, Mass.--()--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.

“This research affirms that consumers feel the impact of the consumerism movement in healthcare and they need help to manage their increased financial responsibilities”

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:

  • Download the full research report
  • Register to join the Alegeus webinar, “Research results unveiled: Overcoming consumer denial in healthcare,” as we discuss the research live Tuesday, February 21st at 1PM EST

Commissioned by Alegeus and conducted by a third-party research firm, the survey polled 1,000 U.S. consumers. Data was collected online in December, 2016. The margin of error for this sample size is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

About Alegeus
Alegeus is the market leader in consumer directed healthcare (CDH) solutions, offering the industry’s most comprehensive platform for the administration of healthcare benefit accounts (including FSAs, HSAs, HRAs, wellness incentive, dependent care, and commuter accounts), the industry’s most widely-used benefit debit card, and powerful engagement solutions to help consumers maximize savings and optimize spending for their healthcare. Over 300 clients – including health insurance plans, third party administrators and financial institutions – leverage Alegeus’ deep expertise and proven technology to administer benefit accounts for more than 29 million members and process more than $8.9 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 focus on their customers. The company is headquartered in Waltham, MA with operations in Orlando, FL and Milwaukee, WI.

Contacts

Alegeus
Jennifer Irwin, 414-699-5927
jennifer.irwin@alegeus.com
or
ReviveHealth
Skye McIntyre, 615-760-1105
skm@thinkrevivehealth.com

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Release Summary

Recently released survey results from CDH solutions provider Alegeus reveal sobering reality: consumers are frustrated and ill-prepared to manage their healthcare finances.

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