Humana Inc. is backing an effort to help Americans do a better job of budgeting for health care expenses.[@@]

Humana, Louisville, Ky., is working with Consumer Action, San Francisco, a consumer group, to support a new health care budgeting Web site, at http://www.familyhealthbudget.com

Humana and Consumer Action recently held a press conference here in Washington to release results of a survey of 2,000 U.S. adults that looking at consumers’ health care budgeting efforts.

Although 74% of the survey participants said they worry about rising health care costs, and 24% have gone into debt due to health care bills, only 51% budget for health care expenses. Only 20% know how much they spent on health care expenses last year, according to the researchers who conducted the survey.

The researchers found that 93% of the participants agreed that they have a personal responsibility to educate themselves about their health care options, and 96% said consumers need to be savvier about their health care choices.

Health insurers have an obligation to help teach consumers health care budgeting basics, Humana President Michael McCallister said at the press conference.

“When Americans budget, they usually do so only for the basics – food, housing and utilities,” McCallister said. “Our goal through the Family Health Budget is to help people understand that they need to budget for health care expenses just like they would for any other necessity.”

Humana now is working with Consumer Action to develop a Spanish language version of the Web site, McCallister said.