Michael Menerey — who serves as Senior Vice President at Alliant Insurance Services — knows healthcare benefits inside and out. In order to understand the incredible innovation that’s shaping healthcare today, he started Reconstructing Healthcare, a podcast where he interviews industry leaders, medical professionals, and entrepreneurs to discuss why our healthcare system is broken and what experts are doing to fix it.
Michael sat down with David Vivero, Amino Co-Founder and CEO, to discuss healthcare financial wellness, Amino’s features, and our perspective. Here are some takeaways from their conversation:
Price transparency isn’t enough.
There has been no shortage of news regarding healthcare price transparency and cost estimates. These developments are important — information around medical services is a critical step towards managing healthcare. But, transparency is a singular step, it’s not the entire solution to our broken healthcare system.
Let’s take a step back and look at what consumers are saying about their own experiences: 67% of people say it’s hard to find out what a service will cost, and 40% of people couldn’t figure out if their service was covered. Combining these data with the fact that people say they want high value care and they deserve to understand prices, there’s a need to address these issues.
The Journal of American Medical Association found that price transparency only got 10% of people engaged at a large corporation, and only 3% of people used it twice. First generation transparency tools that offer cost estimates alone, don’t foster healthy habits in your employees. Here are David’s thoughts:
“There’s an intermediate step: how do you get people to engage with their healthcare benefits in the moment in which they need it, in the format in which they need to receive it? It’s about wrapping transparency and differences in cost and quality into an experience that is actually enticing, that produces loyalty, and that produces trusted action.
Just publishing data, and not caring about where that website is, how accessible it is, and if it speaks the language of consumers, won’t do anything. So our job is to say, how do we actually make it easier for people to use that information?”
It’s important to keep in mind that the information that comes from transparency is not consumable in a way that’s actionable. What employees want is an experience; they want to be able to achieve their goals. People want to feel like they made a good decision.
David noted that “we should have choice as consumers, but it should also be easy to make good decisions. Our job at Amino is to help people succeed financially in healthcare, and it’s much broader than transparency.”
Amino is built with employees in mind.
“We hinge our product on saving people hard dollars, giving people back their time, and giving them delightful convenience,” David said, noting that $88 billion was borrowed last year to pay down healthcare bills that people overpaid or didn’t owe in the first place.
“Why is it so hard for consumers to get transparency, and why is it so hard for employers to help those people? By centralizing the data, by working with insurance plans directly, and by integrating with other benefits such as telemedicine, Amino has a program that brings qualified convenience to the entire healthcare ecosystem. Amino thinks about the myriad of choices and experiences employees have in healthcare, in which they are in the driver’s seat.
We are seeing massive improvements for engagement in telemedicine and second opinion services. We saw a customer whose engagement with telemedicine was better within the first month of adopting Amino than an entire year of offering telemedicine on its own.
And we see people actually search for more than half of the key terms we offer in our care search. Those are specific, varying searches where the results also range in cost and quality.”
According to Amino data, first generation transparency tools have less than 20% engagement, while Amino Guidance has 50% engagement and almost 70% engagement with an HSA. Our Net Promoter Score is +81, compared to industry average of +11.
Health savings accounts are more than bank accounts.
In the United States, less than half of people who have an HSA are contributing money. Historically, HSAs have been viewed as administrative services. "How do we make investing in HSAs less about going to some vague brokerage account? What’s the ROI of your HSA?” David commented.
Michael interjected: “That’s funny because as a benefits leader, I’ve never asked for that. And I’ve never thought that there should be an ROI, because the industry sees it as an administrative function.”
Amino combines claims in a qualified search engine and an Amino visa card so the products can speak to each other, and allow employees to spend less and save more because they understand the impact of doing so on an HSA. David’s thoughts on the design of Amino's HSA:
“When people use our product we give them advice about contributing too much, contributing after a service, or that they’ve got catch up contributions. We’ve created a set of work flows that make it much easier to engage. And, we don’t have any hidden fees. We don’t have any transaction fees, statement fees, or limits on how much cash you need before you can get access to investments.
We combine the HSA with guidance. We help people stay healthier by not blowing the money on expenditures out of network, or going to an overly expensive MRI. So, we connect the HSA balance and the impact of those dollars, while also helping employees make an appropriate decision for today.”