Have you ever put off going to the doctor out of concern for cost? If so, you are unfortunately not alone.
You may have heard this before. Increasing financial stress is impacting all aspects of Americans’ lives. It’s not just mental. Financial stress is affecting job performance, relationships, and physical health, causing absenteeism at work, and presenteeism when they are actually in the office. These facts may not be news to many employers, but how can you combat this and help your employees?

WEX Health and Visa conducted a multiphase survey around consumers’ healthcare options, particularly their feelings towards HSAs and FSAs. An attractive option that allows consumers to get the healthcare coverage they need while also starting to build long-term savings is the consumer-directed health plan (CDHP). In fact, consumers with this health plan felt somewhat more financially secure and savvy than all workers surveyed. However, there are some common misconceptions that may be holding employees back from enrolling in a high-deductible health plan or HSA:
  • Lack of trust in employers/insurance providers
  • Distinguishing the difference among their options
  • Understanding the jargon
So how can you, as an employer, cut through the noise and help your employees make sense of their options? Here are a few suggestions from WEX and Visa:
  • Change the vocabulary:
Instead of saying… Try saying…
“HSAs are portable” “When you change jobs, your HSA goes with you”
“High-deductible health plan” “HSA-eligible plan” or “consumer-directed health plan”
“FSAs are use-it-or-lose-it” “Check with your employer; many offer a grace period or allow you to roll some of you funds over from one year to the next”
 
  • Highlight the value of an HSA as a retirement savings vehicle. Often, HSAs are lumped in with FSAs in the minds of consumers, when there are key differences between the two. Explain to your employees that funds in their HSAs can be used for retirement savings—and unlike their 401(k)s, they are not taxed.
  • Focus on life events. It is easier for someone to grasp a concept when they can make a real-life association. By understanding where your employees are and what events they may be thinking about or saving for, you can associate the benefits of certain health plans with the ways in which it can help them through these particular phases of their lives.
  • Offer more education throughout the year. Don’t wait until open enrollment, where employees may be overwhelmed and just select what they’ve always had or what they deem to be the simplest option. We have a wealth of resources for employee education. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Reach out.
WEX and Visa’s survey found that employees are nearly twice as stressed about their finances than they are about their jobs. By providing simple communication, resources and support, you can create a more engaged, informed and less stressed workforce.

Download the full survey report here.
 
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