HSA Headlines - 2/1/19 - Helping to bolster employee wellness

It's the first HSA Headlines of February and we are well into 2019 and benefits and healthcare trends for the year are starting to take shape. We've had our own share of fantastic company announcements over the past several weeks, but now it's back to work giving you the most intriguing health savings account headlines in the news over the past week.

Employees want more help understanding their healthcare coverage - Marlene Satter, BenefitsPro

Stop us if you've heard this one before, but employees need a helping hand from their employers when it comes to electing healthcare benefits during open enrollment. According to a study conducted by Maestro Health, 62% of employees feel their employer does not serve as a resource for their health care-related questions. That's a significant knowledge gap to overcome and highlights just how in the dark some employees feel when choosing benefits.

Employers may think that they have improved their efforts in recent years, but this survey proves that they still have a long way to go. On the subject of their knowledge about their current healthcare coverage options, 35% of employees either only somewhat understand, don't understand or know nothing about their health care coverage.

And that disillusionment can add up to a lot of lost productivity: the CDC estimates that productivity losses from missed work cost employers $225.8 billion, or $1,685 per employee, each year, so employers have plenty of incentive to come back to the table and take a closer look at their benefits education offerings.

Aetna using Apple Watch to power upcoming Attain wellness program with real world rewards - Zac Hall, 9to5Mac.com

If you haven't heard, we've launched our very first e-commerce store for purchases of qualifying products with wellness dollars, WellDeserved. But the subject of fitness trackers and Apple Watches has been a common question among HSA users for several years, as their ability to serve as a health diagnostic tool may help it apply for HSA eligibility under current IRS rules.

But in many cases, corporate wellness programs are outpacing FSA/HSA eligibility and Aetna's new corporate wellness program, Attain, will put the Apple Watch front and center of its program. Attain is designed around four aspects: customized daily and weekly activity goals for each participant based on age, sex and weight, regular challenges focused on improving sleep, mindfulness, and nutritional improvements as part of a measurement of everyday health.

Finally, Attain keeps track of all of this with a simple to understand point system which can be exchanged for credit toward the cost of the Apple Watch or for retail gift cards. This is one example of many corporate wellness programs expected to be rolled out in 2019 and could provide a vital proof point for the medical utility of Apple Watches.

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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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