But, I thought all HSA ‘s were the same

Fred BarsteinFirst steps in discerning the multitude of HSA partners

Fred’s Take: Health Savings Accounts are becoming more important especially as companies move to high deductible health care plans. But most companies do not pay enough attention when selecting their HSA provider and the type of arrangement. For example, should the HSA be “bundled” with the health care provider for seamless integration? But what happens when you change that health care carrier – do you want to have to keep changing your HAS provider? Our resident expert, Ryan Tiernan raises these and other consideration for employers sponsoring an HSA.

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By Ryan Tiernan, Senior HSA Consultant, AccessPointHSA

Chances are that if your company offers a corporate sponsored retirement plan you know all too well the level of due diligence that goes into making the necessary decisions.  Meeting after meeting to select the adviser of choice, who in turn conducts meeting after meeting to find the record-keeper of choice, with ongoing meetings to stay on top of the decisions made in previous meetings.

In a similar fashion, and as the convergence of health and wealth continues, should these same parties be meeting to discuss the level of due diligence performed around their HSA and in particular what attributes of the various HSA providers should be studied?

While cost is not always the main driver it is often an issue near the top of the list for many employers.  Although an employer is under no obligation to pay the fees of an employee’s HSA many can and do which leads to the discussion on fees.  Fees can come in the form of monthly account administration fees, account opening fees, investment fees and account closing fees to name a few.  Where a current or prospective HSA carrier’s fees lie relative to its peers is therefore an important characteristic.

Another important feature to address is the interplay between the healthcare provider and the corresponding HSA.  Most often referred to as “integration” this feature can make the process of reviewing healthcare invoices and explanation of benefits or E.O.B’s more seamless to the user and can offer a neat and tidy way to pay bills and catalogue receipts.  On the other hand many HSA advocates speak to the merits of “Premium Decoupling” where the HSA is completely separate from the healthcare provider.  This model can be very useful when a company may be changing healthcare providers on a regular basis due to rising premiums and chooses not to have the two (HDHP & HSA) bundled together.

As these HSA offerings progress their technological capabilities also offer an increased value to their users.  Whether focusing on the employer or the employee, features like web based education, streamline enrollment, digital tracking of receipts and mobile apps are becoming the standard fare for tier one providers.  Also, a provider’s data security capabilities have become even more important as cyber threats aimed at healthcare data prove to be more lucrative (10 times more lucrative according to Reuters) to hackers than credit card and other forms of pirated personal information.

With nearly 17million open HSAs and some estimates reaching 50 million by 2020 (Interpro Publications) HR teams across the country either are or will be looking for a process driven approach to articulate these attributes and qualified consultants to help implement them.  The combination of health and wealth within the context of a total benefit offering is full of questions, concerns and most importantly opportunities.

Access Point HSA helps financial service and employee benefit firms position, sell and leverage health savings accounts as a critical piece of a well-designed retirement income plan.

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