Alegeus releases AI-enabled Smart HSA

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Health savings accounts may be getting smarter. Alegeus’s new Smart HSA mobile app uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to suggest ways employees can better use their healthcare dollars.

Employees can use the mobile app to view their account balance and get AI-based recommendations for how to save money on medical procedures, prescription drugs and chronic condition management, the consumer directed healthcare company said. The tool also uses employee’s historical data to make recommendations about funding and account enrollment.

“We know that consumers don’t understand their healthcare. [There are] things we can do to better position them to be true consumers,” says Brian Colburn, senior vice president of corporate development and strategy at Alegeus.

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One of the ways to better position employees to understand their healthcare is to “let technology serve as people’s adviser,” Colburn adds. This means using tools like AI to help workers make better informed decisions about their care.

“It’s about proactively helping consumers find value in the healthcare system,” he says.

The Smart HSA mobile application is meant to help educate workers about their HSA spending habits, he adds. The tool has a smart score, that tells employees how effective a healthcare consumer they are. Factored into this score is how much workers are spending on prescription drugs and medical procedures.

For example, if an employee overpaid for an MRI or a medication, the app will notify the user and suggest ways they could save money in the future.

“[Users] can click on their score and see how they can increase it and where they’ve lost points,” Colburn says.

See also: HSAs march ever higher, expected to continue

The number of employers offering HSAs as a benefit jumped from 45% in 2014 to 56% in 2018, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management. Employees are increasingly investing in HSAs. The number of accounts grew 13% over the past year to top 25 million while assets grew 19% to $53.8 billion, according to research firm Devenir.

But employees may not know how to make use of these funds. A study from Willis Towers Watson found that employees often don’t know how to use the tax-free and long-term savings features of HSAs. Almost two in three workers (65%) are tapping their HSAs to pay for immediate healthcare expenses with only a modest 8% saving the money for the future, the consulting firm found. HSA providers including Bank of America and WageWorks have recently updated their offerings to include more educational resources for employees.

Colburn says workers need better tools to help them make decisions about their healthcare. “Think about healthcare system today, we’re asking consumers who don’t really understand healthcare to take on more of the burden for cost,” he says.

The Smart HSA app will be available early next year to all Alegeus customers. Employers and their workers can access the tool through their health plan or third party administrator.

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