San Francisco-based Amino, which has offered a consumer-facing cost and quality transparency tool since 2015, is launching a new offering: its own Health Savings Account (HSA) and debit card.
“This addition of an Amino debit card, combined with, in our app, a complete HSA interface allows consumers, who are increasingly in high-deductible plans, to be successful,” CEO David Vivero told MobiHealthNews. “It’s just a big new addition to what we’re doing, but I think it really redefines the experience of being a consumer in healthcare because we’re no longer seeing this world where, on the one hand, you have a HSA, and then you’ve got your directory where you find care somewhere else, and then you’ve got your telemedicine offering. It’s actually integrating a lot of these benefits into one overall experience.”
The offering will first be rolled out to employees of Amino’s employer customers in the spring, but the plan is to offer it to anyone through the exchanges by the end of the year.
Vivero says he hopes offering an HSA that integrates with cost and quality transparency tools will address a major problem with HSAs: underutilization.
“About 25 percent of people who actually are eligible for HSAs don’t even have one,” Vivero said. “…So already you’ve got this one part of it where there’s 17 million people who could immediately benefit essentially by paying 20 to 30 percent less for their healthcare because they can use pre-tax dollars. And it’s really a shame that HSAs are so difficult for most people to understand that they’re overpaying for their healthcare. Within that, the people who do have health savings accounts, a very small percentage of them are even contributing meaningfully to their own account. Just 13 percent contribute the fully allowable amount in HSAs.”
Amino’s plan is to not just provide an HSA and debit card (and eventually, Vivero hopes, a mobile payment option), but to provide an educational experience that helps consumers understand what an HSA is and how to use theirs most effectively.
“For those people that have high-deductible health plans, the health plan itself is becoming less and less important to them because the health plan is really just observing what you spend money on. They’re not actually writing any checks to cover your care,” Vivero said. “What matters on a [high-deductible health plan] is ‘Am I using my health savings account and am I choosing my care wisely?’ ‘Am I using my free benefits like my annual physical, and when I do need to pay for care am I actually choosing high quality, low-cost, in-network care?’ The challenge is consumers don’t know how to get the information they need to be successful across all of these. With Amino, you have a single app that you can download from the app store, you have a card in your pocket, and it’s all linked together. We know where you’re booking care, we know what the balance is for your deductible and where you’re at, you know what’s in your health savings account. So this is really your wallet as it amounts to spending money on healthcare.”