Report reveals top trends among Americans include a growing focus on mental health benefits, with coverage increasing from 23% to 27% in a year, while retirement preparedness continues to be a challenge, with 44% of respondents reporting that inflation has affected their ability to save for retirement.
Milwaukee, WI — HSA Bank, a division of Webster Bank, N.A., published its sixth annual HSA Bank Health & Wealth IndexSM, a comprehensive report that examines trends in consumer financial and physical health, with a continued focus on mental health.
The report found that healthcare costs remain the primary barrier to enrollment in health plans. Amid rising inflation, 51% of individuals who are not enrolled in health plans consider the costs to be significant barriers. Even among those who are enrolled, understanding healthcare costs remains limited, especially with Generation Z, who continue to be less informed about their health plan costs and are the generation with the highest number of uninsured individuals.
“As we reflect on the findings from our sixth annual Health & Wealth Index, we’re still seeing a commitment to health and wealth among Americans despite challenges such as escalating economic concerns,” said Chad Wilkins, President of HSA Bank. “Financial pressures are driving increases in healthcare costs which impact enrollment. Concurrently, we’re observing increased demand for mental health services, and an undeniable concern over retirement preparedness, exacerbated by a lack of savings. Employers have a significant role to play in providing the necessary tools, resources, and education to navigate these realities, ultimately improving decision-making in both areas of health and wealth.”
In the survey of 2,000 healthcare consumers, the average consumer engagement score for 2023 was consistent with 2022, remaining at 56.6%. This continuity signifies steady health and wealth engagement despite inflation and pandemic recovery. Breakdown of engagement reveals that 12% were minimally engaged, 45% moderately, 34% highly and 9% optimally. Further insights demonstrated an ongoing struggle with healthcare cost comprehension, substantial usage of preventive care, and a pronounced focus on mental health.
Other key findings from the report include:
- Mental health support is still needed. The increased focus on mental health, evident in the rise in coverage from 23% to 27% over the past year, has illuminated discrepancies between generations in seeking mental healthcare, with Millennials and Generation Z showing a stronger inclination to access mental healthcare than their older counterparts.
- Concerns about future healthcare costs persist. 33% percent of respondents were unsure if they could afford healthcare costs in the near-term or in retirement.
- Telehealth usage has decreased in post-pandemic America. In 2022, 48% of respondents used telehealth services, down from 53% in 2021, reflecting consumers returning to in-person preventive care.
- An uncertain economy continues to hamper retirement readiness. 33% of respondents were unsure about covering medical expenses in retirement, and 44% said inflation had affected retirement savings.
Now in its second year, the mental wellness survey questions, intended to aid employers in assessing the mental healthcare needs of their employees, continues to provide crucial insights for employers assessing open enrollment benefits. This year, the survey tracked an uptick in interest towards mental health benefits. This ongoing trend underscores the growing recognition and value of mental health among younger generations, with 61% of Generation Z and 51% of Millennial respondents stating they are more likely to change employers due to improved benefits.
“These findings reaffirm the necessity for employers to understand and respond to changing health and wealth engagement trends and further underscores the crucial role employers play in bridging gaps in healthcare affordability, promoting mental wellness, and fostering future financial stability,”” Wilkins added. “At HSA Bank, we’re devoted to helping employers navigate these challenges. We’re diligently delivering personalized insights and experiences to meet the increasing demand for mental health support as well as overall health and financial wellness.”