Seems like this is progress – based on a UHG study the key factors are online access, funding and communications. No surprise there. Administrative infrastructure matters. Web-based employee access enables presentation of all options, can include decision support tools, presents employer funding levels, can link in the banking option and can also provide relevant, personalized communication content to help employees make decisions. This requires a powerful, flexible platform.
Employees in health savings account (HSA)-eligible high-deductible health plans are more likely to open and fund an HSA if they are provided with:
• Online enrollment in an HSA.
• A company contribution to the HSA.
• Long-term communications, both pre- and post-enrollment, regarding the HSA benefit.
An analysis of 25,000 HSA-eligible health plan enrollees by insurance provider UnitedHealth Group found that when employers provide an integrated approach with these components, a majority of plan enrollees open an HSA bank account, contribute their own funds and carry over balances from year to year.
“This data reinforce that consumers, when given the proper support, are increasingly more comfortable with the HSA model and better understand the advantages of saving early on for future health care expenses,” according to UnitedHealth’s analysis.
“This HSA data reinforces our belief that consumers of all backgrounds are increasingly prepared to play more active roles in their health care financing decisions—as long as the process is integrated and simple to use,” commented Tracy Bahl, CEO of Uniprise, a UnitedHealth Group business that manages consumer-driven health programs, in a statement.
He added that, when paired with his firm’s June 2006 study, which showed that an increased level of preventive care lowered overall costs and decreased usage without affecting health outcomes adversely for enrollees in a consumer-driven health plan, “the data is beginning to establish a clear pattern of how account-based plan designs are working.”