Donna noticed an odd lump on her neck while applying sunscreen. Concerned, she immediately saw her doctor, who after examining her, ordered blood tests and an ultrasound.
The first thing Donna did when she got home was log on to her health plan’s website to determine how much the ultrasound would cost.The plan’s online cost estimator wasn’t much help. Uncertain and worried about her out-of-pocket cost, Donna delayed making her radiology appointment, even though she was anxious about her health.
Without the information, support and confidence needed to make smart healthcare choices, many people like Donna can make costly, decisions, including choosing to do nothing at all … resulting in much worse consequences down the line.
Top healthcare consumer challenges
A recent survey of 4,000 U.S. healthcare consumers revealed that 66 percent feel “planning for out-of-pocket costs” is the most challenging and stressful aspect of their healthcare. Other top challenges include managing healthcare finances and shopping for the best value.
Unsurprisingly, stress levels are rising as Americans shoulder a greater share of their healthcare costs. Unfortunately, many consumers are ill equipped to take a more active role in their healthcare and effectively manage their increasing financial responsibility.
Most people lack the information, tools, support and confidence needed to successfully navigate today’s complex and daunting healthcare system. As a result, consumers struggle with making healthcare decisions, whether it’s what plan to buy, what services to use, or how to budget for potential costs.
In fact, when it comes to understanding and utilizing their healthcare, the survey respondents universally reported low levels of confidence, and 69 percent said confusing healthcare jargon was a substantial barrier to decision-making.
Human interaction essential
Despite growing consumer demand for self-service and digital tools, the survey also found that people across all consumer segments—including millennials—value human interaction above all other types of support, especially when their confidence in their healthcare decision-making capabilities is low.
Health plans and self-insured employers can help their members/employees like Donna, get unstuck, overcome obstacles and take appropriate action with confidence by providing them with easy access to highly skilled healthcare advocates and navigators.
Recognizing the critical need to provide consumers with the right mix of human interaction and technological intervention, Carenet Health can help health plans develop concierge-level healthcare advocacy solutions.
Powered by clinical and consumer influence best practices, rich data and sophisticated engagement technology, the right health concierge service or health advocacy solution can significantly improve the healthcare experience. It can cultivate a critical human connection between consumers, providers and payers that leads to smarter health choices and better outcomes across the board.
If Donna had access to the personalized support and expert guidance Carenet can help clients design, she would have someone holding her hand and guiding her down the best path for her well-being and her wallet.