HSA Headlines - Changing the HSA narrative through education

It's finally October here at HSAstore.com and the peak of the open enrollment season! While the news around HSAs is mostly dominated by helping consumers make the right choice with their benefits options this fall, employer and business-focused journalism is rife with interesting tidbits about where the HSA market and enrollment could be heading in the future.

This week, we'll look into the education issue around HSAs and how one company broke convention and bolstered enrollment with a new messaging strategy.

Only 11 percent of employees fully understand HSAs, data shows" - Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool

We hear from benefits managers all the time: "If people knew the benefits of HSAs, more would enroll!" That's certainly true, but according to the 2019 Workplace Benefits Report by Bank of America that asked working professionals to do just that, just 11% were able to name key attributes of an HSA -- namely, the triple tax advantage, how funds never expire, and how owners have investment options.

Not only are these major attributes that every benefits supplement should spell out, they are talking points that can pique the interest of working professionals who may want to enroll in an HSA. This shows the communication hurdle that benefits managers and HR reps alike have to overcome each open enrollment, but there are strategies they can do to improve this knowledge.

How one employer opened workers' eyes to the benefits of HSAs - Amanda Schiavo, Employee Benefit News

To piggyback off the article above, we bring you the story of Sara Caddy, a benefits manager with Dimensional Funds Advisors, a private investment firm. And she had a novel approach that could resonate with workers this fall: explain HSAs less as tax-advantaged accounts like FSAs and more like retirement accounts.

Caddy discovered that a key point of confusion is that many workers can't tell the difference between FSAs and HSAs and see them largely as the same thing. So instead of communicating HSAs as point of sale cards and yearly contributions, they were communicated to employees as primarily retirement accounts. And it paid off: Some 80% of the HSA funds at Dimensional investment plans, and 52% of employees have used their funds in the past year.

This is a key question for benefits managers nationwide: Are HSAs better for saving or spending? We think a combination of both is a sound strategy, but as for piquing the interest of employees during open enrollment, driving home retirement benefits may move the needle a bit more to get employees onboard.


HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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