Alegeus' annual Healthcare Consumerism Index, which analyzes the healthcare spending and savings decisions of a sample of employed U.S. adults, found that consumers are exhibiting slightly savvier behaviors around shopping for healthcare services.
Yet consumers' savings habits for future healthcare expenses are failing to keep up with the times, considering the increased healthcare cost responsibilities resulting from higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.
The Alegeus report concludes most consumers lack some understanding or focus for managing their increased financial responsibilities.
The report aims to measure consumers' empowerment to take greater ownership of their healthcare finances, and found a far higher measurement for consumerism in healthcare spending (54.44 points out of 100) compared to consumerism in healthcare saving (21.88 points out of 100).
When it came to spending, this year’s score indicated a slight improvement over last year’s of 48.3.
Despite that progress, consumers "are still much more engaged and thoughtful about buying a TV (scoring a 78.9) than they are about making decisions concerning their own healthcare," Alegeus found.
It added that even with 76% of consumers reporting a focus on getting the best value for their healthcare, the majority of those still did not understand their cost responsibility for a given service until they were billed afterward.
Regarding healthcare saving, "Disciplined saving for short- and long-term healthcare costs represents a paradigm shift for most consumers, and the research findings affirm that the majority of consumers are under-funding their healthcare savings," Alegeus wrote.
It found only 34% claiming to know how much they will need to save to pay for their healthcare this year, and only 23% saying they were "saving aggressively" for future healthcare expenses.