Account-based plans: Closing the knowledge gap for consumers

Despite the increased use of high-deductible plans and health savings accounts--47 percent of employers offer HDHPs and 42 percent offer HSAs--consumers still know very little about these types of policies, according to a new survey from Alegeus Technologies.

The survey found that only 30 percent of consumers who currently are enrolled in an HSA could pass a basic quiz about the plan. And more than 40 percent of the respondents said HSAs are spending accounts, not realizing they can actually save beyond the plan year or invest in HSA funds.

Indeed, a separate study released last December found more than 60 percent of the target population for the health insurance exchanges don't understand fundamental health insurance concepts, including premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

"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," Alegeus CEO Steve Auerbach said in a statement.

This large knowledge gap provides insurers with an opportunity to streamline and simplify consumers' experience with employer-based insurance and help them better understand their benefits--particularly since employers only provide limited information to their workers.

The survey found that 65 percent of companies only discuss and educate employees about health benefits during open enrollment, and almost 60 percent rely strictly on summary documents and enrollment forms provided by the insurers to explain the health plan options.

But Alegeus also found that consumers want the ability to make more individualized choices concerning their health plans. For example, nearly 70 percent said they want their employer to provide a wider choice of plan options, and 47 percent said they want to choose which bank administers their HSA account.

To learn more:
- read the Alegeus survey

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