In previous blog posts I’ve introduced you to our proprietary 5 Stages of Health Saving and Spending model that identifies where employees are in their journeys with HSAs. Depending on an employee’s level of engagement, they may be getting started with a health savings account (HSA) in the “Decide” stage, or they may be very experienced with their account and investing their contributions into mutual funds in the “Optimize” stage. Or, they may be somewhere in between.
Recently, we conducted research to better understand consumer trends with HSAs. Awareness of these trends is helping us partner with employers to respond to employee needs when it comes to planning and saving for health care. Here are some of the trends the research identified:
- The further along participants are in their journey with HSAs, the more likely they are to look favorably upon qualifying high-deductible health plans. They see the big cost savings, but are wary of being able to navigate the health care system more broadly to maximize their own financial benefit.
- Participants have no idea how much health care does or should cost.
- Most are not fully aware of the full purpose of an HSA and the financial benefits it could provide. Without a trusted benefits officer, the HSA is an abstract product that is difficult for them to understand.
- However, those in the manage and optimize stage are well-versed in HSAs and are maximizing them by saving more than their deductible, investing in mutual funds and saving for their health care needs in retirement. They also demonstrate a much lower stress level when it comes to needing money for their health care.
- There was a significant correlation between company contribution and prioritization of their HSA: 69% of respondents feel incentivized to use their HSA and greater than 50% of respondents feel the HSA is a priority. The other factor that led people to open and start saving more in their HSA was if they were afraid for their health. Having a health scare or a condition that runs in the family makes people aware of how much health events can cost.
- The bulk of participants do not see their HSA as a retirement or investment account — but they are interested in the possibility.
How can you help your employees along in their journey with an HSA?
- Educate them on HSAs. Employees need information about how to use the account and its benefits.
- Offer access to an HSA expert who can educate, answer questions and provide guidance.
- Consider making a company contribution to their HSA accounts, if you’re not already. This will incentivize employees to open an account and make their own contributions.
- Show the 5 Stages of Health Saving and Spending to employees. It brings to life the journey across the different stages of use, saving and investing. Speaking to your employees based on what stage they are in will make your messages more relevant to their situation.
Learn how you can help your employees maximize their HSA opportunity and identify where they are on their journey with the following resources:
- Customer Journey: The 5 Stages of Health Savings and Spending
- The health savings and spending customer journey
- Health saving and spending