Account Based Health Plans are “Extremely Important” to Their Business
New Industry Survey by Acclaris Highlights Primary Barriers and Opportunities for Account-Based Health Plans
TAMPA, Florida – Mar 2, 2015 – Acclaris, a leading SaaS technology and services provider for account-based health plans, has released its “Account-Based Health Plan 2015 Survey Report,” with detailed findings from a recent survey of 650+ healthcare industry professionals.
Examining if and how industry players are administering account-based health plans, as well as exploring plans for 2015, the report provides a look at the current state of the account-based healthcare market. “We are in the midst of a three-pronged convergence as healthcare, banking and technology combine in the new account-based health plan era,” noted Dean Mason, CEO of Acclaris.
“Based on the survey findings, it is clear that health plans, benefits consultants and human resources groups need to focus their resources on educating employers and consumers. At Acclaris, we’re excited by the opportunities we see in the data to drive strategies for employee engagement beyond simply educating employees about these accounts at the time of enrollment.”
The importance of account-based health plans (ABHPs) is growing as demand increases, with 47 percent of healthcare industry respondents revealing ABHPs are now “extremely important” to their business. An overwhelming majority (87 percent) of respondents cited ABHPs as important to their business, and most (62 percent) indicated that consumer demand will grow in the next year.
Of the organizations surveyed, health plans ranked ABHPs as most important to their business – topping the charts at 97 percent. Less than 15 percent expect consumer demand for ABHPs to level off or decline. In addition, respondents from a cross-section of organizations noted that they offered or administered ABHPs – from large health plans to smaller benefits administrators.
Overall, 53 percent of respondents currently offered/administered FSAs, HRAs or HSAs, while a whopping 86 percent of health plans claim them as part of their current offering. Of the respondents offering ABHPs, health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) topped the list – both spiking to 80 percent. Health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) lagged behind at 53 percent. However, consumers logged more transactions for HRAs than any other account type in 2014, according to proprietary Acclaris system usage data.
Market Challenges and Confusion
Meanwhile, the rise of account-based health plans does not come without its challenges. Educating consumers (50 percent) and employers (30 percent) and managing data integration (35 percent) ranked as the top pain points across the board for those offering ABHPs.
Adapting the right technology, servicing customers and compliance concerns followed closely behind averaging 25 percent of respondents, while brand integration and too many providers lagged at less than 10 percent. According to America’s Health Insurance Plans’ Center for Policy and Research, 17.4 million Americans rely on high-deductible health plans. eHealthInsurance.com analyzed one large insurer's 2012 claims and just under 11 percent of people with a $2,500 deductible met the deductible for that year.
Consequently, Initial consumer interactions are now with the account-based health plans used to support payment and reimbursement until the deductible is met. While most respondents offering ABHPs did not cite brand integration as a top concern, it may be because half of them are promoting under their own brand. In contrast, 20 percent have no brand representation at all in their ABHP offering.
However, branded experiences might play a more important role for health plans as 63 percent noted they control their brand experience, a notable increase when compared to the overall response. With the rise of consumer-driven healthcare, excellent service has become extremely important – far outpacing the march toward mobile. Almost 90 percent of respondents ranked “excellent service” as “extremely important” while the acclaimed “mobile app” ranked lowest in importance.
Of course, security and compliance also ranked as chief concerns – not surprising given increasing data breaches now that healthcare, financial service and banking are converging. Offering a different perspective, respondents who do not currently offer ABHPs are uncertain about future adoption – 55 percent noted they are “unsure” if their organization has plans to adopt ABHPs in the next two years.
Overall, the biggest barrier to adopting ABHPs is educating consumers (35 percent), followed by data integration and compliance concerns (20 percent each). However, health plans were more concerned with data integration (45 percent), adapting the right technology (36 percent) and compliance concerns (27 percent).
“Employers and health plans will increasingly be charged with helping consumers make smart decisions and manage all their healthcare-related needs in one place as the complex web of insurance policies, bank accounts and technology platforms converge,” added Mason. “To do so, health plans and benefits administrators will need to focus on delivering a simple, yet fully integrated, consumer brand experience. Those who don’t will inevitably miss out on what is quickly becoming the single most important brand interface for the healthcare consumer.”
Acclaris conducted this online survey starting in January 2015 and completed in February 2015 through a variety of online channels. More than 650 healthcare professionals responded to the “Acclaris Account-Based Health Plan 2015 Survey Report” survey. Respondents came from a wide range of companies, spanning companies posting $10 million to more than $5 billion in annual revenue and representing a broad cross-section of health plans, health plan consultants, benefits administrators, financial institutions and more. Further, the respondent pool collectively covers various organizational roles: operations, consulting, sales/marketing, business strategy, product development, etc. A comprehensive breakdown of respondents by industry, company size, role, etc. can be found in the full report.
Acclaris provides the services and technology that health plans, benefit consultants and financial institutions rely on to deliver healthcare and reimbursement accounts to a growing market. Acclaris stands out from the competition for its operational efficiency, configurable (SaaS) technology and responsive services team. Partnering with Acclaris, clients of all sizes are able to deliver a range of innovative account options and an exceptional consumer experience.