Paying and saving for health care: How many steps are there?

If you had to guess, how many stages do you think your employees go through when paying and saving for their health care? Here’s a clue: The process is more complicated than simply “paying” and “saving.”

Zahoor ElahiAccording to Optum research of more than one million consumers and in-depth analysis of our account holder experience, your employees go through five stages to pay and save for health care: they are decide, open, use, manage and optimize.

Consider what happens at each stage and you can see why it is a multi-step journey.

Decide—An employee decides to pursue a high deductible health plan and pair it with an HSA, HRA or FSA

Open—The employee opens the account.

Use—The employee and employer make contributions to the account. When presented with a health care event or prescription refill, the employee uses the account or their HSA/HRA debit card to pay the bill.

Manage—The employee maintains the account by reviewing statements, tracking balances and adjusting account settings.

Optimize—To get the most value, an investment account is set up and the portfolio is reviewed for performance. These employees are planning for the long term so they can pay for health care costs through retirement.

Where are your employees in this continuum? Optum can help you determine which employees are in each stage so messaging is targeted and relevant to their needs. Meeting your employees where they are in this process enables them to be more engaged in planning, using and saving for health care expenses.

Learn more about the five stages in the Optum white paper, “The Health Savings and Spending Customer Journey.” Your local Optum representative can help you understand how this proprietary research can help you and your employees be more secure in saving and paying for health care.

Zahoor Elahi, senior vice president, Product, Optum Financial Services

3 thoughts on “Paying and saving for health care: How many steps are there?

    • Thank you for your comment! The most basic impact of the ACA has been awareness and added understanding of our health care system. Consumers are starting to understand that employers are shifting costs to them. The number of high deductible plans has risen more than 16% over the last 5 years (Source: AHIP, 2014.) With the increase in high deductible plans should follow in increase in health savings accounts, which have grown incrementally over the last 5 years as well. This need to pay for more of their health care out of their own pocket will lead to consumers becoming more involved in their healthcare and needing more information. The impact of which will eventually be consumers picking what best suits their needs and moving towards higher utilization of health savings and spending accounts.–Z. Elahi

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