HSAs and Consumer-Directed Health Plans

I just saw a Wall Street Journal article reporting on a Kaiser Foundation study that showed that employee enrollment in HSAs only increased from 2.4 million in 205 to 2.7 million in 2006. Most enrollees, according to the study, had no choice or picked the cheepest coverage. Where a choice was offered only 19% opted for an HSA.

Has the growth in these plans hit the wall or are they just not being well designed and communicated to employees?


  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • There is a definite communication gap to selling the HSA plans to the employees. Unfortunately, I believe that many Benefits Administrators have not been well versed on the advantages of the HSA's, so they may have trouble getting the employees to understand these benefits. Migrating from a Co-Pay minded employee to an HSA is a very difficult transition. Hopefully, the growth has not began its demise, but we will all become better educated on the correct communication paths to assist the employees with the HSA's.
  • As a broker we have seen significant interest and increase in employers offering HSA plans.  I would say the momentum is building in employers, this movement has been the opposite of the norm in benefits.  Generally we see trend moved from the coasts in and from large down to small employers.  With HSA's we are seeing it move from the middle to the coast and from the small companies first and now larger companies are moving with it.

     Politically the momentum does not seem to be losing ground either, I have heard that many democrat and independent politicians who previously had not supported the HSA idea are starting to support it based on the fact that so many uninsured have become covered by HSA's

  • We have a lot of interest in our company in starting an HSA but our broker told us to wait a year or two until some of the customer service issues were resolved.  We live in a coast (well close enough for there to be weekend beach traffic) and so many people signed up that they flooded the HSA plan customer service.  Our broker is generally really good about providing info in an understandable way.

    I'd be really interested to see where this goes in the future.

  • What I have seen and read is that HSAs are the new trend.  In fact for open enrollment this year, I just switched the company to a High Deductible HSA program.  As with any change it is hard at first as most people don't like change.  One of the biggest hurdles to get over is the high deductible part.  When people are used to going to the doctor and paying their $20, it is a big change to know have to pay the bill until they meet their deductible.  I showed the employees in true numbers how much money they could save.  My company is putting money into each HSA account each month for the employees.  They can use that money to pay the deductible or any other medically related expenses they have.  As my employees are getting used to the idea, many are starting to really like the plan. 

    The biggest thing is really communicating the advantages to the employees.  If you don't communicate the plan well then the employees are really going to have a problem with this type of plan as all they hear is "high deductible" and they get scared and worried.

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