In a year that has seen health insurance costs spike across the country, an increasing number of consumers are enrolling in Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) as a way to help pay for future medical costs, according to the results of a new survey.
According to the ConnectYourCare Consumer-Driven Health Plan Enrollment & Usage Trends Survey, more than 40 percent of the HSA participants interviewed said they enrolled in HSAs in order to use the accounts as savings vehicles for future health care needs. This response came in ahead of “tax savings,” which 21 percent selected, and “lower premiums” offered by High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP), which only 9.5 percent of survey respondents selected.
The survey also showed that future health care costs are a major concern when considering retirement. When ConnectYourCare – a national leading consumer-driven health care solutions provider – asked more than 14,000 workers what their primary concern is when it comes to retirement, 63 percent of the respondents selected health care expenses (such as insurance premiums, prescription costs, and other medical expenses) over lifestyle expenses (paying for housing, vehicles, vacations, etc.).
The same respondents expressed concern that while Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) offer many of the same advantages as HSAs, IRS requirements regarding FSA claims can add significant complexities. About half of the survey respondents said that decreasing the need to submit documentation per IRS guidelines for eligible expenses is the FSA change they would most like to see made –making it the most popular response.
When deciding how much to contribute to an HSA and/or FSA, 58 percent of those surveyed said that reviewing previous spending habits is the most useful activity. Twenty-two percent preferred reviewing potential savings and spending scenarios.
ConnectYourCare also surveyed nearly 250 employers. When asked to rate the importance of several factors when evaluating health account vendors, 85 percent of benefits decision-makers rated “employee customer service” as very important, while 81 percent ranked “overall employee experience” as very important. By comparison, the price of the benefits solution was rated as very important by 66 percent of respondents, indicating employers are placing a greater emphasis on maintaining or improving employee satisfaction with CDHPs versus cost savings.
The employer survey also shows that employee education and communications will continue to require significant resources. Surprisingly – given all the efforts by third-party advisors, employers, and others within the industry – one of the largest barriers to enrollment is employees’ lack of awareness of financial tax benefits. In the survey, 47 percent of employers said employees did not enroll in HSAs, FSAs, and other tax-advantaged accounts because they are simply unaware of financial tax benefits.
“The results from our survey indicate that while progress is being made – and consumers are beginning to take advantage of tax-favored benefit accounts – many are still simply unaware of all the benefits offered through these products,” said Barbara Boudreau, Vice President of Strategy at ConnectYourCare.
“We recognize this is a tumultuous time for the health care and benefits industries,” Boudreau continued. “We want these results to help employers provide the right tools, products, and information needed by their employees when making complicated benefits decisions – so they can save time and money.”
ConnectYourCare’s Consumer-Driven Health Plan Enrollment & Usage Trends Survey was conducted from October 2016 through January 2017 using a third-party survey platform. ConnectYourCare surveyed a variety of organizations, from small businesses to global enterprises in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, retail, health care, finance, education, and local government.
This report presents aggregate findings from a survey of two populations. The first consisted of 14,641 employees currently enrolled or that are eligible to enroll in tax-advantaged Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), and/or Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) offered through their employers. The second group surveyed was comprised of 249 company stakeholders that purchase, implement, and/or administer employee benefits.
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As one of the largest and most responsive providers of health care savings accounts and award-winning solutions, our approach to consumer-directed health care is rooted in creating better, more efficient connections among the people who provide benefits, the people accessing services, and the people who deliver services. Blue chip organizations across the country turn to ConnectYourCare for our highly rated customer service and best-in-class member experience, advanced educational tools for better-informed choices, acceleration of savings with ROI efficiencies and simplification of processes with brilliant customer-focused solutions. There is a unique solution for every company and employee, and we won’t stop working until we connect you with the perfect one. For more information, visit ConnectYourCare.com or follow us on Twitter @ConnectYourCare.
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