According to recent research, health savings account (HSA) participants are savvier health care consumers and more engaged in health care decision-making than their peers.

Relative to the general population, HSA holders are 80 percent more likely to save aggressively for future health care savings, 68 percent more likely to have a savings goal, 54 percent more confident in forecasting out-of-pocket health care costs and 46 percent more likely to research and compare costs, according to the 2018 Alegeus HSA Participant Profile Report.

Given these findings, along with the substantial benefits HSAs provide employers and employees, one might wonder what can be done to help sustain the predicted rise in HSA uptake. Whether you’re a broker or employer, there are plenty of options available to help facilitate and sustain HSA participation growth:

Educate employees

Education is essential if you’d like more employees to achieve the status of informed HSA participant. Many consumers still lack the knowledge of basic health care concepts. They need substantial training and support to understand how HSAs could benefit them. To give you an idea of the enormity of this problem, only 19 percent of the general populace can pass a basic true/false HSA proficiency quiz.

Fortunately, the benefits offered by HSAs are undeniable. Employers can expect to see a considerable increase in account adoption if they can effectively communicate the value of HSAs to their employees.

Incentivize employee participation

It’s crucial for employers to incentivize employee participation by contributing to their accounts. This is one of the most important things an employer can do if they want to see more employees opt-in for HSA and HSA-eligible plans.

Reinforce the value of HSAs throughout the year

One of the biggest mistakes employers make is only providing educational materials to employees during open enrollment. Organizations should communicate the benefits of HSAs throughout the year. It’s especially effective to focus on timely information that guides HSA holders to optimally fund, spend and invest their health care dollars.

It’s also effective to offer resources across a range of formats when discussing the benefits of HSAs. Webinars, on-demand videos, promotional displays, Intranet pages and account comparison tools are all effective options.

Most people have a hard time understanding health plans and benefits. So, while strong growth is projected for HSAs over the next few years, don’t fall into the trap of feeling a false sense of security. Consistent year-round communication, along with employer account contributions, is the best route forward for seeing increased HSA employee participation.

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