Driving Employee HSA Utilization for Employers and TPAs

Can you name all of the advantages of an HSA account? Here’s just a few:

  1. Lower your monthly health insurance premiums with a higher deductible. These HDHPs can be paired with an HSA
  2. You Can provide a savings buffer for unexpected or high medical bills
  3. Use the HSA to pay for current medical expenses, including your deductible and expenses that your insurance may not cover, or you can save your funds for future medical expenses
  4. You can withdraw money from your HSA at any time and for any reason
  5. They offer a triple-tax-advantage – tax-free contributions, tax-free withdrawals, tax-free interest on investment

Why are they Underutilized?

If there are so many advantages, then why don’t more people have an HSA account?

According to a recent Willis, Towers, Watson study, 57% of employees who were offered an HSA, didn’t enroll. This is because they didn’t see an advantage. Furthermore, these people can’t assess whether or not an HSA account is good for them.

Read why more employee’s don’t open up accounts.

Engagement Strategies

Here are a few engagement strategies that have been used to drive attention, increased savings and engagement within employee’s long-term savings arrangements.

Strategy 1:

Work with the employer to define the HSA engagement goal(s), metrics and an engagement strategy with management. The goal should be clear, measurable, actionable and realistic.

For example, “Our goal is to increase HSA accounts by ___%, increase contribution amounts by ___%, and increase the number of employees who save their HSA money for future use by ___%. This can be done by:

  • offering an employee matching contribution
  • communicating the benefits of HSAs throughout the year using a strategic, communication plan
  • providing access to online tools that offer personalization and decision support
  • designing plans that encourage employees to save money in their accounts

Strategy 2:

Secure member contact information. You can’t communicate with employees you can’t reach. Information to gather and keep updated:

  • Work/personal email
  • Cell, work and/or home phone
  • Home mailing address

Strategy 3:

Train your internal staff on a process to make sure all employees understand their HSA benefit through:

  • Yearly action plan calendars that lists topics, communication and engagement plans for each month. HSA topics to include:
    • Saving
    • Spending
    • Investing
    • Minimizing withdrawals
  • Conduct monthly webinars/conference calls with employer management, HR staff, insurance committee, etc. to outline monthly goals and provide communication material to be shared with employee population
  • Send weekly emails to employer management, HR staff, insurance committee, etc. to break down monthly goals into manageable components and get feedback from internal staff on what is working, how to improve, etc.

Strategy 4:

Speak directly with employees:

  • Communicate through videos (65% of people are visual learners)
  • Utilize emails (Are they short, simple and relevant?)
  • Educate through webinars
  • Take advantage of social media
  • Use text messaging (98% of people read their texts)

Send the correct messaging to the correct demographic

Strategy 5:

Track and report quarterly on items like:

  • How many employees are being targeted vs reached?
  • How many employees are engaging with actionable goals?
  • What are the outcomes of those participating?