The final school bell rings, setting off a sound that serves as music to the ears of students and teachers alike, officially signaling the start of summer break. Mad dashes are made through the halls and out the doors toward what awaits ahead: splashing at the pool, relaxing on the beach, barbecue parties, fireworks filling the sky, and various other outdoor adventures that translate into extra time spent with family and friends.
While the summer season traditionally beckons a time to unwind the brain, relax all thoughts, and dull the senses, today’s blog speaks to an important need for employers, benefits administrators, and employees to sharpen their pencils…in order to sharpen their health savings account (HSA) skills.
So don’t unpack those schoolbags yet. Class is still in session.
HSA 101: Yes, More Pencils. Yes, More Books. (But We Can Spare the Teacher’s Dirty Looks.)
I know, I know…Alice Cooper’s chart-topping transitional anthem tells us “school’s out for summer” (or “forever” if that’s the lyric you choose to cling to); but according to new research, some all-around schooling is needed when it comes to benefits administrators providing HSA education, and employees understanding the offering’s tax-advantaged perks.
According to Plan Sponsor Council of America’s inaugural survey on HSA plan design and use, 60 percent of plan sponsors reported that employee HSA education is a “dominant concern”—yet only one out of five sponsors offer educational outreach multiple times a year. Conversely, 76 percent said they offer HSA education just during open enrollment. As for the education mediums, 56 percent of surveyed employers rely on “how-to” guides, and nearly 60 percent use group presentations.
If we break this down by tenure, 38 percent of surveyed organizations have offered an HSA to employees for 2 to 5 years, and only 34 percent have done so for 6 to 10 years.
Perhaps the most telling statistic: just 25 percent of employers reach out to employees who don’t contribute to the HSA, or only contribute a nominal amount, with additional education.
But not to worry: if you feel like you need to beef up your HSA communications, we’re offering extra credit. Check out our resources below to help employees go from missing the mark to making the grade.
Pass with Flying Colors: Three Resources to Improve HSA Education
Summer learning doesn’t have to be painful; as a matter of fact, it can lead to money back in the pocket, so that employees can save up for those dream summer vacations ahead. Employer savings can be factored into this equation, too, through tax savings and enrollment into lower-cost plans. That said, we’re ready to encourage some additional learning through ConnectYourCare’s HSA Academy, a centralized repository for continuing employee education on all things HSA.
To help participants maximize their account potential, HSA Academy features:
Short video vignettes, starting with the “HSA 101” basics and progressing to more advanced contribution and investment topics
A brief quiz to test participants’ HSA know-how (Think You’re an HSA Genius?)
“Myth Busting” to help separate fact from fiction when it comes to common HSA misconceptions
Hey! Teachers! Don’t leave them kids alone! Employers, the numbers tell us that “we don’t need no education” is a misnomer, and when it comes to your employee population, we have the entire lesson plan built out for you.
360° Connect is ConnectYourCare’s complete, integrated program, designed to simplify things for employer HSA administration, while providing employee engagement and driving HSA account enrollment through uniquely tailored strategic communication services.
The complete, multi-touch program includes:
Emails and Newsletters
What’s best, it is easy to upload and lift into your existing communications plan.
And just how effective is this lesson plan? Learn how one employer implemented the program to double high deductible health plan (HDHP) enrollment compared to the national average, plus increased employee HSA contributions 78 percent higher than the national average.
Work smarter not harder this summer and roll out this proven communications curriculum.
Employers, your employees should be putting on their thinking caps, not dunce caps. HSAs may have a reputation for being complicated and confusing, but our HSA for Dummies® book counters all challenges via simple guidance and useful tips on contributing, investing, saving, and paying for medical expenses using an HSA.
Who can open an HSA, who can contribute funds, and how much
Tips to help employees manage HSA funds, ranging from investing money, to saving receipts, to saving funds to spend later
What your workers can spend HSA funds on, in terms of qualified purchases, and when
The tax benefits of owning an HSA
This is one book that should be added to the required summer reading list. Your employees will thank us.
The Final Exam: The Lesson in Learning More about HSAs
“You want us to study?”
“The thought did cross my mind.”
“Well, what’s in it for us? What do we get out of it?”
You can’t have a blog on summer school without referencing the 1987 Carl Reiner-directed comedy Summer School, starring Mark Harmon as the carefree, beach bum gym teacher, forced into off-season teaching, and turned mentor and motivator along the way.
Just as this 80’s movie proves, good things can happen in summer school. Employers who promote HSA education through consistent, year-round communications—summer included—can get their employees to the top of the class in understanding the numerous benefits of an HSA.
So, when employees ask, “well, what’s in it for us?” you can respond with “Tax savings on present-day medical expenses, interest- and investment-earning opportunities, and a clear path toward saving for expenses in retirement.” (Not just health care, but things like future summer vacations!)