Employees participating in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) tied to health savings accounts (HSAs) are experiencing low levels of overall understanding of and satisfaction with the plans, according to a study by Hewitt Associates.
The study found that only 30 percent of employees using HDHPs with HSAs said they understood and were satisfied with their selection, and more than half said they wouldn't re-enroll next year.
Although HSAs feature longer-term savings benefits, few people who enrolled said they were taking advantage of that aspect of the plans. Approximately 40 percent of respondents said they chose them because of the lower premium costs versus other plans, and more than two-thirds used the plans to deal with routine health expenses.
"As health care costs continue to rise, HSAs are great vehicles for helping employees save for future health care expenses, but they can be ineffective or confusing to employees if they aren't using them in the right way," says Jennifer Murphy of Hewitt Associates.
Murphy says that it is important for employers to offer tools and resources for helping employees better understand the plans.
"Positive testimonials from employees who have enrolled in an HDHP coupled with an HSA show that a greater emphasis on tools can help employees understand how to use their health plans and can boost satisfaction while improving next year's enrollment results," Murphy says. "It's also critical that the education flow continues after enrollment so employees can avoid making mistakes."