New Research Reveals What Health Plan Members Think About Shopping Incentive Programs

The use of rewards and shopping incentive programs to support health and wellness initiatives is nothing new. We’ve been getting employer-sponsored bonuses/prizes/kudos for participating in walking challenges for years. But applying an incentive model to help people shop for high-value medical care is a relatively new undertaking for health plans. But these programs, including our own HealthSparq Rewards solution, are picking up steam as vehicles to educate consumers about the significant cost variations of health care and to nudge them to make cost-saving choices.

We recently commissioned Hanover Research to field a national survey of 1,030 health plan members to explore what they really think about rewards and incentives programs in health care. Below are a few highlights. Click here to download the full report.

People want programs that help them save money and get rewarded in the process.

The great news for health care rewards programs is that people are overwhelmingly interested in tools that help them save money – and programs that reward them for doing so.

  • 81% want their health plan to give them the tools they need to save money on health care.
  • 76% want their employer to give them the tools they need to save money.
  • 91% are interested in health care incentive programs.

It’s unsurprising that people are interested in saving money on health care and that they are looking to their employers and health plans to help them do so. However, we were encouraged by the response of those who say they are interested in incentives programs – 91% is certainly compelling.

Not only are people interested in shopping incentive programs, they’re willing to change behavior.

Beyond expressing an interest in a health care incentives program, the research revealed that many people are willing to change their behavior in order to earn a financial incentive.

  • While convenience is usually a major driver for care selection, people are willing to travel for care. Two in three would travel up to 20 miles for a lower cost, rewardable provider.
  • 57% said they would ask for another rereferral from their PCP if the original referral was not an incentivized care option.
  • 55% are likely to use recommended providers if they receive a financial reward.
  • 72% of consumers would be willing to switch to a recommended imaging services provider for a $25 reward.

The fact is that most consumers are simply not aware of the extreme price variation that exists in health care and we believe many will make different choices if those options are clear and easy. At HealthSparq, we deliver a seamless, in-search experience to help members find the services that best meet their needs, understand what their care will cost and earn rewards for making smarter health care choices.

Interested in learning more about HealthSparq Rewards? Get in touch.