The 12th annual Aetna HealthFund® study showed that simply offering a consumer-directed health plan is not enough; additional strategies are needed to increase the adoption and the effectiveness of these plans.
The 12th annual study found lower member costs from the consumer-directed plans resulted in a $8.6 million savings over five years per 10,000 members. The study also highlighted more employees would enroll in a high-deductible health plan with a health savings account (HSA) when an employer contributed.
“We’re excited to continue to progress our insights on consumer-directed plans in this latest study. Understanding the positive financial impact of these products has become simple, but what we’ve found is that simply offering a consumer-directed plan is not enough,” said Erin Hatzikostas, CEO and president of PayFlex, a subsidiary of Aetna. “The real power comes in continuously looking a layer deeper at the specific strategies and levers that help maximize the positive impact of these plans.”
Maximizing HSA savings, planning for a healthy retirement
The 12th Aetna HealthFund study also analyzed data from PayFlex to highlight several strategies employers can use to encourage employees to contribute to their HSA accounts. PayFlex is a company that provides account-based benefits administration.
Their study found that when employers contribute to the employee’s HSA, employees are 2.6 times more likely to contribute to their HSA. In addition, the study looked at the timing of these contributions as well and found that timing matters. For example, when an employer makes contributions throughout the year, versus contributing at the beginning of the year, there was an increase in spending from the HSA.
In addition, more thoughtful education on HSAs can help people better understand how they work and how they can prepare for the future. The study suggests several strategies to increasing employees understanding and engagement in their consumer-directed plan.
The study also found that bundling a high deductible health plan and HSA with supplemental benefits can help members manage unforeseen medical expenses and ease the burden of medical and non-medical financial responsibilities.
“Consumer-directed plans are at the heart of our ability to maintain or improve both price and quality in health care,” Hatzikostas said. “We all must continue to improve upon the ability to use these programs as part of an overall health care management strategy, linking and leveraging all components available to achieve our goals.”