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An ex­cerpt from our Em­ployee Bene t Views blog, writ­ten by Eric Brewer, se­nior bene ts con­sul­tant at Cor­po­rate Syn­er­gies, an em­ployee bene ts bro­ker­age and con­sul­tancy.

How to ex­plain HSAs to em­ploy­ees who don’t un­der­stand them

High-de­ductible health plans with health sav­ings ac­counts are be­com­ing more pop­u­lar as bene ts con­sumerism in­creases through­out the coun­try. En­rolling your em­ploy­ees in HDHPs is one way to ed­u­cate them on the true cost of health­care. And if they use an HSA cor­rectly, it can help them bet­ter man­age their health­care costs, and yours.

But un­der­stand­ing how an HDHP works and en­sur­ing your em­ploy­ees will get the most out of an HSA can be tricky. In fact, a re­cent sur­vey by em­ployee com­mu­ni­ca­tion soft­ware com­pany Jel­lyvi­sion found that half of em­ploy­ees don’t un­der­stand their in­sur­ance bene ts. And choos­ing a bene ts plan is stress­ful for em­ploy­ees be­cause it’s a de­ci­sion that will im­pact them for a long time. is is fur­ther com­pli­cated by the trend to- ward ris­ing em­ployee con­tri­bu­tions and the is­sue of es­ca­lat­ing health­care costs. Em­ploy­ees are tak­ing on more cost share — and that means plan spon­sors have a greater re­spon­si­bil­ity to do a bet­ter job of ed­u­cat­ing them to make the best de­ci­sion at open en­roll­ment.

HSAs bene t the em­ployee in a num­ber of ways:

• Just like a re­tire­ment plan, HSAs can be funded with pre-tax money.

• Em­ploy­ees can choose how much they want to con­trib­ute each pay pe­riod and it’s au­to­mat­i­cally de­ducted. • Em­ploy­ers can con­trib­ute funds to an HSA un­til the limit is met. ese are im­por­tant facts to tell em­ploy­ees. But there’s more to it than that. Here are some tips on how to best ex­plain HSAs to your work­force.

Help em­ploy­ees un­der­stand they’re in con­trol. High-de­ductible plans with an HSA might seem in­tim­i­dat­ing, but they put em­ploy­ees rmly in con­trol of their health­care. is is in­creas­ingly im­por­tant in to­day’s in­sur­ance land­scape. When em­ploy­ees choose an HSA, health­care be­comes more trans­par­ent. ey can shop around for ser­vices and nd the best deal for ser­vices be­fore they make a de­ci­sion.

Re­sist in­sur­ance speak. As an HR pro­fes­sional, you may not re­al­ize how much bene ts jar­gon you use ev­ery day. Af­ter all, you deal with bene ts all the time, so us­ing in­dus­try terms is sec­ond na­ture. But jar­gon is con­fus­ing to em­ploy­ees. One tip is to spell out acronyms on the rst ref­er­ence. Sec­ond, sim­plify the ex­pla­na­tion by short­en­ing sen­tences.

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