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TMCNet:  2017 Alegeus Healthcare Consumerism Index Reveals Increased Consumer Engagement in Healthcare Finances

[December 06, 2017]

2017 Alegeus Healthcare Consumerism Index Reveals Increased Consumer Engagement in Healthcare Finances

Alegeus, the market leader in consumer directed healthcare (CDH) solutions, today unveiled its 2017 Healthcare Consumerism Index - an annual report that measures the degree of engagement and consumerism exhibited during healthcare spending and saving decisions. Based on a survey of more than 1,400 U.S. healthcare consumers, the 2017 Alegeus Consumerism Index evaluated two specific aspects of healthcare consumerism: 1) the degree in which consumers consider cost and value during healthcare spending decisions and 2) the degree of consumer focus and discipline on planning and saving for healthcare costs.

Consumers were asked to assess their attitudes and behaviors for a wide set of spending decisions - including both healthcare and non-healthcare purchases - that were then tabulated on a 0-100 point scale. This year's spending index of 60.4 represents modest, yet steady, improvement over last year's index of 54.4. This indicates that although consumers still have a way to go, they are beginning to embrace their increasing responsibility for healthcare costs that are due to rising deductibles, growing out-of-pocket costs, and the accelerating adoption of CDH plans.

  • 55% (up 15% YoY) of consumers find out price before receiving a medical service
  • 60% (up 11% YoY) of consumers research physician and facility quality ratings
  • 64% (up 9% YoY) of consumers understand the cost obligations of their insurance coverage

However, while healthcare consumers are making progress and show signs of greater engagement, they are still much more thoughtful about other household decisions, such as buying a television or booking travel, than they are about making decisions tat concern their own healthcare.

Consumers were also asked to assess their attitudes and behaviors regarding saving for various costs, such as retirement, their children's college education, and an emergency fund. This year's saving index of 25.9 signals a shift in behavior with consumers demonstrating an 18 percent year-over-year improvement in focus on saving for current and future healthcare needs.

However, the majority of consumers may still be under-funding their healthcare savings. Findings show that nearly 40 percent of U.S. citizens continue to live paycheck-to-paycheck, and only 50 percent currently make contributions to retirement. Even less diligence is applied to healthcare financial behavior, with only 36 percent of consumers contributing to their healthcare savings each month.

  • Only 30% of consumers save aggressively for their long-term healthcare needs
  • Only 41% of consumers understand what their long-term healthcare expenses will be in retirement
  • Only 29% of consumers invest their healthcare savings in stocks, bonds or mutual funds for growth

"While the 2017 Alegeus Consumerism Index demonstrates that healthcare consumers are making progress, there is still a great deal of work to be done in terms of educating, engaging and empowering consumers around healthcare costs and saving opportunities that can help them get the best value for their healthcare dollars," said Steven Auerbach, CEO, Alegeus. "At Alegeus, we constantly strive to create new and innovative capabilities our clients can leverage to close this gap by helping people to become more savvy healthcare consumers."

With its market-leading consumer directed healthcare platform, Alegeus empowers consumers to better manage their healthcare finances including account-based benefits such as HSAs, FSAs and HRAs. Alegeus looks to engage consumers during critical spending and saving moments with tools, including the company's virtual assistant Emma and its new virtual marketplace, in order to help consumers maximize the value of their healthcare dollars.

For more information, click here to download the full report.

About Alegeus
Alegeus is the market leader in consumer directed healthcare 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 and third-party administrators - leverage Alegeus' deep expertise and proven technology to administer benefit accounts for more than 30 million members and 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 focus on their customers. The company is headquartered in Waltham, MA with operations in Orlando, FL and Milwaukee, WI.


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