While most Americans are gearing up for Labor Day weekend and getting everything lined up for their kids to head back to school, those of us in the employee benefits world have a close eye on open enrollment, which is just around the corner!
With that in mind, you'll see a fair amount of trend pieces on health care and enrollment trends in coming weeks, so stay tuned to this column for all the stories that could affect your health savings account (HSA)! Let's check out this week's headlines:
Telehealth is here to stay, so why won't employees sign up? - Walecia Konrad, Employee Benefit News
Telehealth has been hailed as the future of health care, and for good reason! The ability to be able to consult with a doctor or specialist about a health issue from the comfort of your home or through a smartphone/tablet is a major time-saver and can encourage individuals/families to practice more preventive care practices. In fact, the 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation Employee Health Benefit Survey found that 75% of employers offer this benefit, but it's been slow to be embraced by employees.
As much as telehealth has grown in recent years, public awareness is still low. According to a J.D. Power survey, only 9.6% of Americans have used telehealth services of all types, including those provided by employers. Many employees are either unaware that this benefit exists, or what telehealth is in the first place. So while it may be the next big thing in medicine, telehealth still has an uphill climb to become a more visible option in corporate benefits packages.
This new company gives a bonus for saving on healthcare - Amanda Schiavo, Employee Benefit Adviser
HSA users know how to shop around for health care and save on medical necessities, but what if you got even more rewards for doing so? A new health care guidance and engagement company, HealthJoy, has completed a pilot program with employers with a smartphone app that suggests cost-effective alternatives to traditional medical services. If employees opt for the less expensive service, they are eligible for financial rewards.
This is a great tactic for employers who offer HSAs that are tethered to high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), which can have a bit of a learning curve for some employees. Programs like HealthJoy aim to help both employer/employee make more informed health care choices, and rewards are typically paid out as HSA/payroll contributions or gift cards. It's certainly an interesting idea and one that bears watching as health costs continue to soar nationwide.
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.