Big deductibles need big solutions: Introducing Amino HSA
Today, we are excited to announce the next step in our mission of helping Americans get the most out of their healthcare: we will be integrating a Health Savings Account (HSA) and Amino debit card with our award-winning transparency experience. For the first time, people will have access to the two essential components of consumer healthcare success in today’s high-deductible and high-cost world—all in one place.
Tens of millions of Americans are now on high deductible plans, which promise to lower costs for employers, as well as give consumers more “skin the in the game.” However, the reality is that people are more vulnerable to hidden costs and surprise bills, and are twice as likely as their PPO peers to delay or avoid important care. Many in the industry have given very little thought to the experience and tools made available to help consumers actually play “the game.” Enter the HSA.
HSAs are arguably one of the best tools we have today to manage our healthcare wallets, yet these accounts are misunderstood, underutilized, and siloed from other daily healthcare decisions. If terms like “deductible” and “coinsurance” are misunderstood, the jargon around health savings accounts are another language altogether. By rethinking this experience from the ground up and pairing it with actionable guidance on ways to spend more wisely, we’re working toward a future where healthcare decisions are easier, more affordable, and even delightful.
How we got here
Building a simple consumer interface to healthcare has been in our company’s DNA since we founded Amino in 2013. At the time, we believed that healthcare would inevitably evolve into a typical consumer industry where direct access to transparency on the quality and cost would be table stakes. Having previously worked at Zillow to bring transparency to the real estate and rental markets, I saw an opportunity to borrow some of these principles so that everyone could choose care with confidence.
Looking back over what we’ve accomplished in the past four years, I see two major areas where we’ve made great progress. First, we leveraged the vast digital paper trail of the American healthcare system (claims data) to build the most comprehensive care search possible, with cost and quality data for doctors, hospitals, urgent care centers, imaging and more. Simply put, we’ve built the best map of the healthcare system. Second, we worked to get this map into more people’s hands by partnering with employers, nonprofits, and media companies—all influential gatekeepers of information about your healthcare options.
Today, we see around 2 million people using Amino every month, and support dozens of partnerships with health media and organizations like Healthline, American Kidney Fund, and National Stroke Association. Following the launch of our more personalized product for employers and employees in mid-2017, we’ve now welcomed tens of thousands of employees across the U.S. to a tailored, powerful offering.
Where we are today
Healthcare is the top financial concern in this country, according to a recent Gallup poll. We’re reaching the point where our out-of-pocket healthcare costs surpass what we are paying for rent and mortgages, groceries, or student debt. Needless to say, there’s an urgent need for accessible, easy to understand information on cost and quality that can help us save more without sacrificing our health.
And it’s not just the consumer’s need, but also the employer’s, those who are also bearing the burden of rising costs. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage hit $18,764 in 2017 (up 3% from last year, and a whopping 55% from 2007), with employers on average footing 69% of the bill. On top of that, 80% of companies with more than 500 employees are now self-insured, so they’re on the hook for bills big and small.
However, publishing where the highest value healthcare can be found is not enough, as we’ve witnessed from decades of companies and organizations publishing vast content about hospital quality, outcomes, costs, and more. We all must do more, and be more.
After all, healthcare is not like other consumer industries. We tend to minimize attention paid to healthcare choices and tasks, because they are not joyful or fun, nor do they speak to life’s aspirations. In fact, healthcare only affects our aspirations by siphoning away from the things we hope for, like meeting our grandkids, buying a home, or retiring well.
For these reasons and others, Amino’s map of American healthcare is even more powerful when integrated into healthcare consumers’ everyday experiences. We must try to meet them where they are, understanding and building around their needs, motivations, and habits.
At Amino, we think a lot about the healthcare system, its players, and the stakeholders with the right motivation to effect positive and transformative change (some of which I’ve published in recent months). To us, such change means a thriving healthcare marketplace where consumers can come to the table with the same information, influence, and voice as other stakeholders. Whether through an evolution of the current system or a move to single payer or another model, we are a long way from seeing this change. But we are committed to creating change—through transparency, great user experience, and partnerships that allow us to move quickly as we kick off this new chapter.