HSA Contributions Lowest by Participants Who Need Them Most

For example, manufacturing employers were the highest users of HDHPs, but manufacturing employees contribute the least to HSAs.

A look at large employers on the Benefitfocus Platform indicated that more than half now offer a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) in addition to traditional copay-based plans such as preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and health maintenance organizations (HMOs).

Among the top three industries represented on the Benefitfocus Platform, education appears to be the least eager to introduce HDHPs, with only 23% of these employers offering at least one HDHP, either alongside traditional plans or as the only option. Manufacturing leads in the variety of plan options and is the only one of the three industries to offer a combination of HDHPs and traditional plans at a higher rate than traditional plans alone. Health care employers’ offering of HDHPs falls in between education and manufacturing.

However, the analysis discovered that employee contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) typically fell well short of their potential. Even when employer contributions are added, a significant gap remains between contribution limits and actual contributions.

For the 2016 plan year, employees in manufacturing on average contribute the least amount to both HSAs and FSAs, with contributions below each of the platform averages for individual and family accounts. As manufacturing has the highest rate of employees enrolled in non-HMO plans (i.e., plans that carry deductibles), these employees would appear to have the least amount of money to help them cover their plan expenses.

On the contrary, employees in education, who have the lowest out-of-pocket plan costs, contribute to FSAs and HSAs at amounts that exceed the platform average. However, employees in all three top industries are not using these accounts to their full potential.

Benefitfocus says this presents employers with an opportunity to emphasize the use of HSAs and FSAs as important financial wellness tools.

The report of Benefitfocus’ findings can be downloaded from here. A free registration is required.