10 Steps to a Successful HSA

10 Steps to a Successful HSA

October 20, 2021

    A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-exempt account set up through a qualified HSA trustee, such as a bank, insurance company or other entity approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be a trustee of an individual retirement arrangement (IRA). An employee’s eligibility to contribute to an HSA is dependent on the employee being enrolled in only a high deductible health plan (HDHP). If your company’s employer-sponsored group health plan is an HDHP, you might consider offering your employees the option to pair it with an HSA.

    Offering a health plan that includes an HSA option is something an increasing number of employers are choosing to do. You may not be sure where to begin when trying to implement a successful HSA plan, but by following these suggestions, you can ensure that your plan is successful and beneficial to your employees.

    Communicating with your employees about plan options and details is important, but it’s not as simple as it seems. You need to ensure that your communications are accessible to all employees—remember, employees may have physical or cognitive impairments that inhibit their ability to understand specific types of communication, for example an employee with hearing loss would miss an announcement over the company’s speaker system. Provide plan details in multiple formats and languages to ensure that you are reaching all of your employees.

    Rather than simply passing out open enrollment information and counting on employees to read and understand their options, have open enrollment meetings where the costs and benefits of each plan are clearly explained. Employees may be unfamiliar with HDHPs that are coupled with HSAs, so explaining what these are may spark more interest and enrollment. Remember to explain to employees how HDHPs and HSAs can save them money, and show them the cost differences between premiums and contributions for these plans in contrast to the other plan types offered. At open enrollment meetings, be sure to define relevant terms like deductible, coinsurance, out-of-pocket maximum and coverage gap.

    Find out whether or not the insurance carrier or administrator provides consumer tools to assist employees in making healthy and cost-effective decisions regarding their care. If so, evaluate whether or not you need to offer employees training on how to use the consumer tools. If no tools are provided, create your own—educating your employees will help them make the best decisions for their health care needs.

    If you do not currently have an employee communication campaign, implement one. Providing employees with easy access to prevention and wellness information could decrease the number of claims made, and, as a result, increase the benefit that employees are getting from their HSAs.

    Find out if the insurance carrier or administrator offers consumers a Health Risk Assessment (HRA). If so, find out if it is evidence-based and reviewed by clinicians. An HRA can be an excellent tool for helping employees determine which health plan is right for them, especially if it offers suggestions on how to improve their lifestyle. For high-risk employees who want to make changes, it can be especially helpful if problem areas are recognized and suggestions on improvement are given.

    Make sure employees understand that their health care is their responsibility. Many employees do not understand the importance of health care consumerism, or don’t even realize that they can take control of how their health care dollars are spent. Emphasizing how employees can save money with health care consumerism is important, especially when first implementing an HSA program—pass out flyers and tip sheets, and hang posters in the workplace on how to stretch the health care dollar.

    Evaluate the current resources you provide for assistance with employees’ health plan needs. If you are not currently offering a 24-hour telephone health information resource or an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), consider doing so. Remind employees of the resources you provide and the informational tools that are available to them. Also, provide instructions on using the tools. Providing the tools won’t do employees any good if they don’t know how to use them.

    Make sure that your employees have access to a current provider directory, and find out if it is available online. Easy access to provider choices will help employees to make the most cost-effective care choices. Also, find out if the insurance carrier or administrator offers a physician comparison tool, as it would assist employees in weighing their options to make educated health care decisions.

    Evaluate the online resources you currently provide. If you don’t already have one, create a section that provides answers to frequently asked questions. Also, if the insurance carrier or administrator offers an HSA calculator, provide it (or a link to it) online. If one is not offered, try creating your own. Online resources will help attract employees to the plan, and an HSA calculator will help them understand how an HSA plan would affect their budget, and how to determine an appropriate annual contribution amount.

    Share HSA examples with your employees. Examples will help employees think of the plan in the context of their lives and will help them understand the factors they should consider in determining if an HSA plan is right for them. For example, while an HSA plan may be the right choice for a 22-year-old, healthy male with no known medical conditions, it may not be the right choice for a 22-year-old male with a medical condition that requires monthly check-ups and blood tests.

    In addition, the 10 steps mentioned above, consider the following stream-lined tips when setting up your HSA program:

    • Consider contributing to employees’ HSAs as an added incentive for them to choose an HDHP/HSA plan.
    • Bring the program down to the individual level—offer personal examples of the benefits of an HSA.
    • Conduct a post-enrollment survey and evaluation. How successful was the campaign? What did people think of it? How are your enrollment numbers? Did you satisfy your original goals?
    • Continually monitor and evaluate your program, and make changes as needed.
    • Contact BHS Insurance Agency for educational information to distribute to your employees about HSAs.

    HSAs are a great savings opportunity for employees, and they can serve as an incentive for employees to choose HDHPs, which can help lead to reduced health care costs for you. Use these tips to add value to your HSA program and to ensure that employees understand it. Contact BHS Insurance Agency for more information.