Magazine

UpFront | Published in March 2017

Employees Need HDHP Education

By Rebecca Moore | March 2017
Despite year-over-year increases between 2014 and 2016 in the number of U.S. workers enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with a savings component, 63% of employees are unaware of the benefits of a health savings account (HSA), and nearly one in three feel no better today about managing their health care finances than when they first became responsible to secure their own health care, a survey from consumer-directed health care solutions provider Alegeus found.
 
Sixty-eight percent of employees enrolled in a health care savings account—i.e., an HSA, flexible spending account (FSA) or health reimbursement account (HRA)—consider themselves to be savers; yet, only 23% save beyond the current year, and the majority annually underfund their health care savings.
 
Thirty-nine percent of employees enrolled in a health care savings account rated their understanding of the offering as competent, yet only three in 10 HSA account holders could
pass a basic proficiency test. Twenty-six percent are unaware they can use HSA funds beyond the immediate plan year, and 41% are unaware they can invest HSA funds.
 
Seven out of 10 employees said they want to take a more active role in their health care overall, but only half intend to do more diligence this year when making their health care purchase decisions. Forty-three percent of participants have never visited their health account portal,
called the toll-free number, subscribed to receive communications or downloaded the mobile app. Further, only 36% have visited their provider’s online site, and just one in 10 participants have downloaded the mobile app.
 
Fifty percent of employees think health care providers can improve participants' experience through human interaction that answers their questions, makes recommendations or validates their thinking. They also expressed significant distrust of the health system, doctors, employers, benefit providers and employer human resource (HR) representatives when determining how much to save for health care costs and which plan to select during open enrollment.
 
Alegeus says the survey signals the need for significant education, tools and support that engages and empowers consumers to take ownership and make savvier health care decisions.

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