Paying for Healthcare in America: WEX Unveils New Research That Explores Consumers’ Confused Perceptions of Benefits Options

Comprised of three consumer studies, the report underscores the
connection between health and wealth in America, takes on consumers’
most common misconceptions about consumer-directed healthcare and
outlines opportunities to build consumers’ financial literacy and

 (NYSE: WEX), a leading financial technology service provider,
today released its annual consumer-directed healthcare plans research
report, titled “Paying
for Healthcare in America: Challenges, Missed Opportunities & What We
Can Do
.” Aligned to the WEX Health mission to simplify the business
of healthcare, the report outlines numerous ways that those in the
business of designing, administering and advocating for employee
benefits can empower consumers to make more informed decisions about
their benefits.

WEX’s Health division approached this research with an understanding
that Americans’ increasing financial stress is impacting all aspects of
their lives, including physical and mental well-being, job performance
and quality of their relationships. The study sheds light on healthcare
benefit education and motivation gaps that lead Americans to miss out on
opportunities to better prepare for unexpected healthcare costs, now, in
the future and in retirement.

“We know the rising cost of healthcare weighs heavily on Americans and
has made a significant impact on their financial health,” said Jeff
Young, president, Health, WEX Inc. “Our work to help Americans offset
costs and save for healthcare expenses has never been more
critical—consumers’ overall health and well-being are on the line. Our
report underscores consumers’ need for simplicity when it comes to
healthcare benefits.”

WEX released its first consumer healthcare report in 2018, using results
from a consumer survey it commissioned to understand the landscape and
develop insights for the industry. In the 2019 report released today,
WEX takes its research efforts a step further, analyzing quantitative
and qualitative data from three different studies:

  • WEX partnered with Visa to conduct a multi-phased study involving
    online anthropology and user/non-user focus groups to understand the
    way people connect emotionally to health savings accounts (HSAs) and
    flexible spending accounts (FSAs).
  • WEX surveyed and interviewed more than 2,000 full-time and part-time
    U.S. workers with employer-sponsored health insurance to understand
    their ability to plan for unexpected healthcare costs.
  • WEX conducted intensive focus groups with 42 individuals with
    experiences typical of the consumers the company serves to better
    understand their health plan decision-making processes, as well as
    their preferences and behaviors in using technology to manage
    healthcare spending accounts.

Research highlights include:

  • Americans’ financial health and preparedness are being devastatingly
    affected because of escalating healthcare costs.
  • Americans don’t know whom to trust for advice about their healthcare
    benefits options, resulting in low confidence in their ability to
    discern differences between available plans.
  • Americans struggle to make sense of health insurance industry jargon,
    which has led to many misconceptions, particularly about HSAs.
  • Many Americans view healthcare expenses as short-term obstacles rather
    than long-term planning opportunities.

The “Paying for Healthcare in America” report concludes that it is
essential for benefits administrators to deliver relatable messages to
consumers that focus more on their emotional thinking than on their
logical thinking. WEX’s research also found that consumers could benefit
from having jargon-filled, “one-and-done” open enrollment packets broken
down into smaller sections that address specific needs throughout the
year—and at key life moments.

To amplify its efforts in helping more Americans achieve and maintain
financial wellness, WEX has established National HSA Awareness Day on
October 15. The company will help its Partners prepare for and leverage
this investment to advance awareness of HSAs through a series of WEX
SPARK virtual and in-person events. More information—including the
announcement of an award-winning personal finance journalist as the
ambassador for National HSA Awareness Day—will be shared soon.

the full report

Powered by the belief that complex payment systems
can be made simple, WEX (NYSE: WEX) is a leading financial technology
service provider across a wide spectrum of sectors, including fleet,
travel and healthcare. WEX operates in more than 10 countries and in
more than 20 currencies through more than 4,800 associates around the
world. WEX fleet cards offer 13.1 million vehicles exceptional payment
security and control; purchase volume in its travel and corporate
solutions grew to $34.7 billion in 2018; and the WEX Health financial
technology platform helps 343,000 employers and more than 28 million
consumers better manage healthcare expenses. For more information, visit


Tiffany Wirth, (701) 461-6473

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