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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 confidence

FARGO, N.D.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 22, 2019-- WEX Inc. (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.

See 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

Source: WEX Inc.

Tiffany Wirth, (701) 461-6473