We continue to see the health insurance market in a state of constant change and ever-rising costs. It seems as though laws, regulations and expectations have become a moving target that continue to shift and evolve before our eyes. The high-deductible health plan (HDHP) is looked upon as a great, lower-cost option for employers and individuals but, unfortunately, often the importance of choosing the right Health Savings Account (HSA) administrator is overlooked. Employees look to their employer for HSA information and education; therefore, employers often depend on their HSA administrator for support. But what should your company look for when choosing an HSA partner?
HSA administrators come in all sizes, from small community banks to nationally known mega-banks. Some insurance companies have started their own HSA bank option and embedded HSA payouts into their claims process. This is conceivably for convenience but often can make it more difficult for a customer to change carriers. The key is to find well-educated HSA consultants that are easily accessible to employers and individuals.
A quality administrator offers a feature-rich and cost-effective product, provides comprehensive education and follows up with administrative expertise.
- Feature-Rich Product: The account should have multiple access points such as debit card and check access, ATM capabilities, online banking and bill pay, mobile app, and telephone banking. The account holder should be able to choose between paper and online statements. Keep in mind HSAs can earn interest and many employers insist on an investment option as well.
- Education: Resources provided should be comprehensive and customized to the specific needs of the account holder and employer. They should be available in multiple formats such as in person, live webinars, and recorded presentations for employer intranet sites as well as links to service items and forms available as a self-serve option. Education topics must include HSA eligibility, contribution limits, proper funds usage, tax concerns and how HSAs interact with other insurance coverage, retirement and Medicare. The education should not stop at the end of the open-enrollment period. Employees are hired year-round and good HSA administrators will accommodate year-round educational needs.
- Administration Support: Ongoing support is probably the most overlooked need. Your employees will require various types of customer care after their accounts are opened. An absolute must is access to a live call center to address specific needs on a one-on-one basis. Payroll employees will appreciate a simple and free contribution process. Employers should have access to various reports for reviewing aggregate balance trends and contribution totals. Assistance with monitoring specific employee contribution amounts and HSA eligibility should also be available.
Without proper education, employers may not understand the importance of the HSA administrative support component. Informal research has shown that in a number of cases, employers may tell their employees, “Just go to your local bank to open an account.” On the surface, this may seem like an effective way to handle the need. In actuality, it can result in you and your employees not having access to the ongoing support you will need.
Leaving the HSA administration to chance raises many perils. Employees with accounts at multiple institutions can result in extra payroll contribution headaches for human resource professionals, as well as possible conflicting answers to important HSA administration questions. A bank with poor education support can result in confused employees, frustrated human resource professionals and potentially put the business owner at risk of legal and tax penalties.
Is your company in need of an HSA administrator?
Find out more about the education-based, service-focused program offered by The HSA Authority. We work with hundreds of employers and insurance professionals across the United States.
When choosing an HSA partner, do your homework. Invest time in researching their depth of experience, tenure and dedication to the market. How long have they offered an HSA program? How many employer groups have they implemented? You want a group that is experienced and can anticipate employer and individual needs. HSAs are not just another checking account. They are a true employee benefit if they are presented properly and supported by a dedicated HSA administrator.
Over the last few years, several banks have sold their HSA portfolios, often resulting in a new product that can be considerably disadvantaged from the original product offering. Do not hesitate to ask for references from your potential HSA partner. Also, be aware of their fee structure, as you do not want your employees to be surprised with excessive and unnecessary fees. There are several HSA institutions that do not charge any setup, monthly or annual fees, yet still provide top-notch customer service.
Your employees trust you to make good recommendations on benefit options. They will also look to you for answers and support. As you offer an HSA-qualified HDHP, take time to ensure you have a true HSA partner. This HSA partner should support you and your employees year-round with questions and administrative needs. A successful HDHP option is a great choice for many individuals and families in search of health insurance. For an HSA program to work effectively, always enlist the services of a quality HSA administrator.
Ruste is the Vice President and Sales Manager for The HSA Authority powered by Old National Bank. He has 28 years of consumer and small business banking experience and leads a successful team of experts at The HSA Authority. One of the largest HSA administrators in the country, The HSA Authority partners with insurance brokers and employers to serve more than 1,200 employer groups and accounts in all 50 states.
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