Insider News: Nov. 21, 2019

Posted by AllWays Health Partners blog team on November 21, 2019

More and more, consumers are becoming empowered to take an active role in their health care decisions. Read about some of the ways members are engaging with their health plans, plus important diabetes-related benefit considerations for employers.

People with Health Savings Arrangements (HSAs) becoming more engaged with how they work: Alegeus

Although the higher out-of-pocket costs presented by HSAs are said to discourage people from getting medical care, just 4% of respondents say they’ve avoided care to avoid the expense. Because of their HSA, 40% say they’ve been motivated to take a more active role in their health care, and 80% claim they make healthy lifestyle choices and smart health care decisions. Just 10% of HSA respondents say they consider themselves unhealthy.

Survey shows consumers becoming more empowered in care decisions, placing premium on convenience

Kyruus survey findings show consumers are becoming increasingly self-empowered when evaluating their care options and they continue to rank convenience and speed of access highly in their decisions. Findings include:

  • Independent research is the top method for finding primary care providers (PCPs) and is rising in specialist searches: The highest share of consumers found PCPs themselves (32%) and, while provider referrals remained the predominant source for specialists, that share declined from 45% to 40% alongside a comparable rise in self-research.
  • Insurance and clinical expertise remain consumers' top criteria: The top provider selection criteria were insurance accepted (91% rating extremely/very important) and clinical expertise (88%), followed by communication skills, hospital/health system reputation and appointment availability.
  • Preference for self-service scheduling is growing: While consumers still prefer to book appointments by phone, there is a rising interest in online booking, as one-third now prefer to schedule online, up from one-quarter in 2017 - a trend that is particularly pronounced among millennials and Gen Xers.
  • Consumers are looking beyond traditional care settings: Speed and convenience are key drivers of consumer decisions to seek care at alternative sites, such as urgent care and retail clinics (44% and 39% visited in the last year, respectively) and one-third of respondents would be likely to switch providers for a virtual visit option.

Diabetic patients with high deductibles may discontinue medication, study finds

Diabetic patients who switch to a high-deductible health plan may be more likely to leave name-brand medication unfilled, according to a study by the University of Michigan. The findings suggest switching to a high-deductible health plan is associated with discontinuation, specifically of branded medications. The researchers say unintended health consequences may result and should be considered by employers making health care benefit decisions.

Topics: Insider News

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