The recent release of the Benefitfocus whitepaper, Losing Control of Costs? Consumer Take the Wheel, reminds us of the importance of both communication about consumer-directed healthcare plans (CDHPs) and access to the latest tools to help employees get the most from CDHPs. Both can drive higher participation rates—a measure of successful CDHP programs.
Communicate about your CDHP year-round, especially if you’re on a glide path to full-replacement CDHPs. Your employees will need to understand deductibles, how to make efficient use of their health expense accounts, and what voluntary products complement CDHPs with added protection for their families.
How Communication Helps Drive CDHP Adoption & Employee Engagement
HSA Bank’s experience assisting more than 35,000 employers implement successful HSA programs has shown that, next to a good health plan and employer contributions, the communication provided by the HSA administrator will have the greatest influence in helping employers increase enrollment and reach important program goals. That’s why we’ve invested heavily in communication and consumer-driven health tools. What we’ve learned is this:
- Start communicating early. To demonstrate an employer’s commitment to the new CDHP, communications should start six months or more before open enrollment. These early communications should come from executives and cover why the change is being made — whether due to health plan cost or other reasons.
- Use simple language. Communications should be delivered free from industry jargon, taking care to eliminate language regarding high-deductible health plans. Stick to “consumer-directed.” It’s more clear and positive than phrases such as “high-deductible” when describing a health plan. Also, keep in mind that many employees prefer email communications as opposed to social media, due to the intimate nature of benefit discussions.
- Set goals. An effective communication program should consist of three periods: pre-enrollment, enrollment, and post-enrollment. Each period should have goals. For example, pre-enrollment communications should address the basics. Explain how an HSA works for different types of consumers. And remember to communicate in context. For example, explain how an HSA works within the context of what are considered IRS-qualified medical expenses.
For ongoing education, we’ve found the following tools effective in driving CDHP adoption and employee engagement:
Our members have access to a Member Website where online decision tools such as a Future Value Calculator are helpful in estimating the potential value of a member’s HSA, the tax savings on contributions, and tax-deferred growth based on the information entered.
A Stage-of-Life Evaluation Tool
Our Everyday HSA Tool shows members how they can maximize the advantages of an HSA in any stage of life.
We’ve developed the myHealth PortfolioSM dashboard that allows members to view medical claims, upload and store receipts, and track all healthcare expenses (even those not paid from the HSA) for easy reimbursement at a later time. Expenses can be organized by type, relationship to the accountholder, and more details can be added to assist with future planning and contribution needs.
There are several resources available to members to empower them to make the most of their CDH, including the following:
- Mayo Clinic Health Information - an award-winning consumer website offering health information and self-improvement tools
- WebMD - offers employees the ability to research health topics and conditions with trusted knowledge from over 3,300 health-related experts
- Healthcare Bluebook - a free consumer guide provides pricing on healthcare services based on a geographic location
- Medical Cost Advocate - a service that can help members simplify and reduce healthcare expenses through expert negotiation and advocacy
This free whitepaper can show you how to boost CDHP participation and employee engagement. You’ll learn how a mobile-accessible portal can serve as a hub for both cost containment and employee engagement, including educational videos, predictive tools and promotional messaging that provides everything from detailed plan information to usage guides and tips for healthy living. Download the free whitepaper today.
Chris Ebersole, HSA Bank SVP of Business Development, is responsible for building and maintaining strategic partnerships with third-party administrators, health plans, and technology providers for HSA Bank. He has more than 25 years of experience marketing employee benefits programs, healthcare, and banking solutions.