HSA Headlines - 5/10/19 - Financial wellness programs already realizing big results

Wellness programs are among the hottest benefits trends in the country right now, so much so that we opened up a whole new ecommerce experience for wellness spending. But, while health-centric wellness gets most of the attention, financial wellness programs are doing their part in preparing working professionals for retirement and for making smarter decisions in the here and now.

Last week we covered short-term fixes that could lead to long-term HSA success, this week we're playing the long game with financial wellness programs and other interesting developments in the health & wellness space.

Long-term use of financial wellness programs drives retirement plan success: study - Michael S. Fischer, ThinkAdvisor

Financial wellness programs are fairly new in the world of employee benefits, so having long-term data about their efficacy is particularly enticing to benefits wonks like us. A new report from the workplace wellness provider, Financial Finesse, found that those who regularly participated in financial wellness activities weren't just better prepared for retirement, but they improved in financial literacy across all of their metrics.

The multi-year study ran from 2013 to 2018 and focused on 2,458 employees who regularly engaged with their employer's personal financial wellness program. Most notably, only 21% of participants believed they were prepared for retirement in 2013, which grew to 57% in 2018. Finally, average contributions to an HSA increased by 41%, to $1,319 from $934.

We've often covered in this column that the best way to take advantage of an HSA is to have your financial ducks in a row to have the freedom to take full advantage of long-term HSA benefits. This study certainly bears that out and is a helpful reminder that the best long-term HSA strategy is one that is tied to your overall financial wellness.

Consumers want more online payment options for health care - Michael Brohan, Digital Commerce 360

This is a headline that piqued our interest this week, as FSA and HSA users are typically more in tune with how much health care services and products cost, manage their benefits directly online and can make payments with their benefits cards. But for those who are not enrolled in these accounts, it can be a bit more difficult to get a full picture of your health care spending options.

A new study from the medical payment services company InstaMed found that 81% of respondents want providers to begin offering cost estimator tools, while another 71% want online billing statements from hospitals and providers (only 17% were offered this).

And it isn't just online bill paying - medical providers are also lagging behind in the ability to pay with mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, which only 29% accepted in 2018.

The mobile revolution has already come to health care, but payment processing has been slow to catch up and it will be interesting to see how the greater industry will step up to fill the void.

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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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