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Posted September 17, 2020

How COVID-19 has changed benefits

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When WEX conducted its annual consumer healthcare survey in mid-February, coronavirus was a blip on our radars. Just a few weeks later, a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases brought the country to a halt. This made many of our questions about healthcare risk tolerance and preparedness even more real. It was clear we needed to conduct a follow-up survey. 

In this second survey, performed in June, we detected a profound shift in the way Americans view their healthcare benefits as a result of the pandemic. Our research report reflects a thorough temperature check on these changes. Most notable are Americans’ improved perceptions of health savings accounts (HSAs) and their comfort levels with telemedicine and digital health:

  • Benefits have become a greater priority. As a result, HSA contributions have increased for many. Forty-one percent of respondents say they appreciate their benefits more now than they did before the pandemic. And roughly a quarter of respondents are now contributing more to their HSAs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • The pandemic has gotten consumers thinking about enrolling in benefits through which they can proactively build savings for unexpected medical expenses and circumstances. More than half are somewhat or very likely to start an emergency savings fund or set aside money in an emergency savings fund due to COVID-19. This has prompted heightened awareness of the HSA as a savings vehicle for unexpected healthcare costs.
  • Telemedicine innovations and digital healthcare platform enhancements are paying off. The COVID-19 outbreak has changed 44 percent of respondents’ thinking on telemedicine and 35 percent of respondents’ thinking on their ability to manage healthcare online. Further, almost 40 percent say they or someone in their household has participated in a medical appointment via their mobile device/phone or computer due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

For more insights on the state of Americans and their healthcare benefits, including a look at the four healthcare consumer personality types, download our new white paper. Or check out more in our infographic below: 

COVID-19 benefits stats

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