Even though close to 33 million Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were open in the United States by the end of 2021, nearly 21% of those accounts were unfunded.
This figure indicates that though high-deductible health plans (HDHP) with HSAs keep growing in popularity and abundance, many individuals still aren’t taking advantage of everything they have to offer. Finding creative ways to engage and educate employees has never been more important. Here are some tips.
1. Contribute to your employees’ HSAs
Employers that offer HSA-compatible health plans should strongly consider contributing to their employees’ HSAs. This is one of the best ways to motivate employees to participate in an HSA, as the prospect of leaving free money on the table is too hard to pass up for most people.
Employers benefit, too. HSA contributions through payroll reduce employer payroll taxes. They also lower FICA, state and federal unemployment, and worker compensation contributions. Read this article to learn more about the value of employer contributions to employee HSAs.
2. Educate and empower
If employees aren’t fully aware of what an HSA can do for them, how can they take full advantage of their perks? Think about how your company can create educational opportunities for your employees to learn the many benefits of HSAs.
A session based around qualified medical expenses can be beneficial. Do your employees know that common IRS-qualified medical expenses can include everything from insulin to contact lenses and solutions to baby rash ointment to oral electrolyte solution? If employees had a better understanding of the wide range of items and services HSA dollars can be used to pay for, they’d be more likely to utilize their accounts.
Another session or newsletter could be based around the triple tax advantage attached to HSAs. Employee payroll-deducted contributions, interest on investments and withdrawals for qualified expenses, are all tax-free.
Check out this resource page of HSA advantages to build educational opportunities around.
3. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Get HSA communications into your employees’ hands often. Staggering communications throughout the year can help avoid overwhelming your employees with loads of information at one time. Consider periodic emails, newsletters or other communications, especially during open enrollment.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s consumer-directed health care employer toolkit is a great resource for communications to share with your employees. The toolkit provides open enrollment brochures, emails, newsletters, webinars and videos such as this one, which provides tips on how to get the most out of an HSA.
4. Drive HSA adoption during critical times
Engaging employees on the benefits of HSAs is important year-round, but these three moments should be viewed as opportunities to increase enrollment.
When onboarding new employees: Try tailoring HSA conversations with new hires based on their age. You can explain to younger employees the importance of getting a head start on financial security by contributing to HSAs. For older employees, you can hammer home the fact that maximizing contributions boosts retirement savings and prepares people for health care costs during retirement.
When existing employees experience qualifying life events: A qualifying life event (QLE) is any event that may trigger a special enrollment period in which an individual can make changes to their health insurance coverage. This can include moving, getting married, and having a child. Try encouraging employees experiencing a QLE to enroll in an HSA-compatible health plan.
When open enrollment nears: Open enrollment is the primary time to implement the resources listed above to encourage employees to adopt or retain HSAs.
Want to learn more about HSAs? Read these blogs from MIBluesPerspectives:
- Help Employees See the Value of an HSA-Compatible Health Plan
- The Value of Employer Contributions to Employee HSAs
- Why Should Employers Opt for Insurance Plans with an Integrated Health Savings Account Solution?
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