Health and wealth – empowering consumers to make smarter decisions

In the quest to become what analysts like Booz call a more “Consumer-Capable Health Plan,” many payors are not only re-evaluating which programs they invest in, they’re also helping members become savvier about their coverage. They’re rolling out cost estimators and other proactive outreach designed to help members maximize their benefits.

Seems like perfect timing.

A recent survey by the Altarum Institute looked at consumer attitudes around healthcare spending, including their perceived capacity to impact these costs. Findings suggest that while people are rightfully worried about the potentially devastating impact that healthcare costs can have on personal finances, fewer than half of consumers have ever asked about the cost of treatment before going to the doctor.

Even more troubling, three out of five consumers reported that they sometimes choose to forgo health care because of the price – bad news for preventive health efforts.

Our own Vulnerability Index findings have shown that life context factors like financial stress take a measurable toll on health behaviors, and health plans that address these issues head-on see an impact on plan satisfaction rates.

Other health plans are stepping up to the plate by sharing resources (like these) that empower members to ask the right questions and make cost and utilization less of a taboo topic in healthcare.

Meanwhile, we’re also seeing providers get on the trust and transparency bandwagon – calling for clinicians to provide better value through increased patient access to records and health information and offer increased connectivity in all those moments that people aren’t in their doctor’s office (check out this TEDMED discussion for more perspective on “flipping the clinic.”)

Outreach that empowers members to make the best decisions about their coverage and health behaviors is at the core of our engagement solutions – particularly for those members who are new to the market through the Exchanges.

How about you – what are you doing to turn the tide and help your members become healthier and wealthier?


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