Enrollment in Private Exchanges Can Increase Employee Enrollments in HSAs

For almost 10 years, many employers have been encouraging employees to enroll in high deductible health plans (HDHPs) paired with health savings accounts (HSAs).

The thinking behind this is that when employees are responsible for spending health dollars from their own accounts, they will be more conscientious about how and where they obtain health services. Multiple studies show that individuals use less health care when they have plans that require higher cost sharing. Yet despite employers’ efforts, only 7% of employees enroll in HSA-qualified health plans under traditional group coverage.

Today,  employers have a new and more effective way to increase employees’ participation in HSAs – allowing them greater health plan choice through private exchanges. By 2015, experts predict that nine million people will receive employer health benefits through a private exchange. A Michigan Health & Hospital Association survey found that 27% of Michigan employers plan to participate in private health insurance exchanges by next year.

Many private exchanges function as an extension of the HR department by educating employees about their options during open enrollment and guiding them to select a plan that best meets their needs and preferences. When employees receive one-on-one enrollment assistance with a non-commissioned health benefits advisor, they are able to learn the benefits of each option in an unbiased way. As a result, employees become more informed and make active trade-offs, ultimately selecting plans with lower premiums and higher deductibles.

In fact, new research from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s GlidePath private exchange shows that:

  • 79% of employees self-selected plans with deductibles of at least $1,000.
  • 30% of employees enrolled in HSAs — a rate four times higher than the national average.

The enrollment process for private exchanges also can dramatically increase employees’ awareness of the costs for both health care and health benefits. Generally speaking,  only 38% of employees are aware of how much their employers contribute to their health benefit.  But 94% of employees using Glidepath were aware of their employers’ benefit contribution.

A greater awareness of health costs can hopefully motivate employees to be more proactive in taking care of themselves and living a healthier lifestyle because these behaviors will save them money. And a greater awareness of benefit costs can help them better understand — and appreciate — the value of their employer-sponsored health benefits.

Gaining this knowledge through enrollment in a private exchange is a win-win for both employers and their employees.

 

GlidePath
More than 50 Michigan employers and 12,000 people now use GlidePath, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s private health care exchange. GlidePath offers companies an innovative way to manage spending and risk. It can transform the way you finance your company’s health insurance coverage. With GlidePath, you can determine your company’s health benefits budget and simplify the administrative work that goes along with offering health benefits. For more information or to request a quote, visit GlidePathBenefits.com.

Coverage for Companies
Coverage for Companies, operated by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, is an online private exchange for small groups with up to 50 employees. You determine an amount you’d like to spend on each employee’s health insurance coverage. Then, you select a collection of plans to offer your employees. We have HMO and PPO options. Your employees can then shop online and get help finding a plan that fits their needs.

 

For more information or to request a quote, visit bcbsm.com/exchange.