Study shows slight uptick in patient financial engagement: 4 statistics

Consumer financial engagement in healthcare spending achieved a modest gain this year, according to a new study by Alegeus.

Alegeus' 2016 Healthcare Consumerism Index is designed to measure the degree of engagement and consumerism exhibited during healthcare spending and saving decisions. Based on survey data of more than 1,000 U.S. healthcare consumers, the index evaluated the degree to which consumers considered cost and value during healthcare purchases and the degree to which consumers' focused on savings for future events.

Alegeus measured spending and saving proclivities on a 1-100 scale, with 100 representing the greatest degree of financial engagement.

Below are four survey findings.

1. Healthcare spending behaviors scored a 54.4. Consumers were asked to assess their spending behaviors for both healthcare and non-healthcare related purchases. The report showed consumers are slightly more engaged in healthcare spending than they were last year (48.3).

2. Consumers are more thoughtful about buying a TV than healthcare. Consumers said they were more engaged and thoughtful about buying a TV (78.9), compared to healthcare services (54.4).

3. Healthcare saving behaviors scored a 21.9. Consumers were asked to assess their saving behaviors for various expenses, including retirement, a child's college education and an emergency fund. This year's score shows a majority of consumers still do not prioritize saving for healthcare expenses.

4. Retirement savings vs. healthcare savings. Consumers reported being twice as focused on retirement savings as healthcare savings, and only 34 percent of respondents said they understood how much they need to save for healthcare costs each year.

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