Health consumers are extremely cost-conscious when selecting care— digital payments solutions are steering them to low-cost services

The data: FAIR Health’s new national survey revealed that healthcare costs are a major decision-making driver for older consumers. The survey was conducted on two groups: One of 1,005 respondents 65+ and the other of 507 caregivers 18+.

Why it matters: The lack of transparency around healthcare costs poses the highest risk to older adults than any other generation.

  • Older adults have higher rates of chronic conditions: 77% of older adults have at least two chronic diseases, per the National Council on Aging.
  • So, it is concerning that 36% of older adults are saying they skip care due to concerns around cost. Forgoing care is linked to poor health outcomes and greater risk of hospitalization—and that could have cost implications for insurers, especially considering that the senior population is swelling.

But at the same time, it seems older adults might be less likely than younger adults to put off care due to cost concerns. That’s probably because older adults have more certainty around insurance coverage because of Medicare, while it can be more variable for adults under private health plans.

  • When you break it down by age group: 50% of US adults ages 18-34 and 47% of adults ages 35-50 said they delayed healthcare due to cost/affordability, compared with just 23% of adults 65+, per CVS’ July 2021 Health Care Insights Study..

Nevertheless, healthcare costs are soaring, making healthcare less affordable overall.

  • 85% of US adults said healthcare costs were an important factor when engaging with healthcare, per CVS.

What’s next? While healthcare costs are subject to market forces out of consumers’ control, digital healthcare payments solutions could help build back consumer trust and healthcare engagement by bringing greater transparency around the entire healthcare financial experience.

  • Access to cost information upfront and frictionless digital payment options could help capture consumers who might otherwise delay getting care.
  • For example, companies like Cedar, InstaMed, and VisitPay are centralizing payments into a single digital space and offering end-to-end healthcare finance experiences (from access to pre-visit cost information to post-visit payment options).

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