Consumers Not Prepared to Be CEO of Their Health

As consumers assume a larger share of healthcare costs and responsibility, a survey by Accolade reveals where they are having difficulty. The survey reveals the following:

  • 32% of insured Americans are uncomfortable with their personal knowledge and skills navigating their medical benefits and the healthcare system. This is higher than the percentage of those uncomfortable buying a home (25%) and is twice as high as those indicating they were uncomfortable purchasing a car (15%) or technology/electronics (16%).
  • Consumers say that dealing with certain healthcare-related activities is a hassle. The top concerns include coordinating all aspects of benefits and healthcare (cited by 55%), selecting and understanding benefits (50%), coordinating care across different doctors, specialists and facilities (41%); and using employer-sponsored benefits programs (30%).
  • Consumers cited finances (31%), emotions (26%) and competing responsibilities (19%) as the top life circumstances that have contributed to poor healthcare decision-making.
  • 80% of respondents would find it valuable to have a single trusted person/resource to help with all of their healthcare needs, such as selecting and using benefits, understanding treatment options, finding providers and coordinating care.
  • When asked what would most contribute to improving their experience as a healthcare consumer, Americans rank having a single person they trust to help with all of their healthcare needs highest at 47%. Ranking lower were having more programs to help them manage their health, such as wellness tools and condition management programs (24%); having more resources from their employer to answer benefit questions (20%); and having more digital/mobile apps to help them make healthcare decisions on their own (13%).
  • While 86% of respondents say that their employer or insurer offers health-related programs, such as wellness apps, condition management programs, provider cost transparency tools and second opinion services, 43% haven’t used them in the past 12 months. They don’t use these programs more often because the programs are not relevant to them (29%), they don’t remember what’s available (15%), they find them confusing (14%), or they don’t like repeating the same information to different programs (13%).

Workers Are Not Prepared For Consumer-Driven Health Care

Consumer driven plans are getting more popular, but many consumers are not prepared to make their own healthcare choices, according to an Aflac survey. The survey reveals the following about consumers:

• 72% have never heard the phrase, “consumer-driven health care.”
• 54% don’t want more control over their insurance options because they think they don’t have the time or knowledge to manage it.
• 62% expect to be responsible for paying for more of their medical costs while only 23% are saving money for potential increases.
• 32% are not very or at all knowledgeable about health savings accounts.
• 76% are not very or at all knowledgeable about federal and state health care exchanges.
• 49% are not very or at all knowledgeable about health reimbursement. accounts.
• 25% are not very or at all knowledgeable about flex spending accounts.
• 75% expect their employer to educate them about changes to their health care coverage as a result of health reform, but only 13% of employers say that it is important for them to educate employees about health care reform.

Many workers already find health insurance decisions daunting. Fifty-three percent fear that they may not manage their coverage adequately, leaving their families less protected. Eighty-nine percent choose the same benefits year over year, and many don’t understand their options.

Fifty-three percent of employers have implemented a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) over the past three years — a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. A 2012 Employer Health Plan Study by J.D. Power and Associates found that 47% of employers would definitely or probably switch to a defined contribution health care plan.

Fifty-five percent of workers have not done anything to prepare for changes to the health care system even with the shift towards HDHPs, defined contribution plans, and insurance exchanges. The U.S. government predicts that household out-of-pocket health care expenses will reach an average of $3,301 per year by 2014. However, only 23% of workers are saving more in anticipation of potential increases in medical costs; 46% have less than $1,000 in savings to use for out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected serious illness or accident; and 25% have less than $500. For more information,

Last Updated 06/29/2022

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