Communicating About HSAs and CDHPs During Open Enrollment Season

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Oct 8, 2012

It’s open enrollment season, and many employers are seeking to increase enrollment in consumer driven health plans (CDHPs).

To make sure these plans are successful, employers need to know what motivates employees to enroll. Part of what can hold employees back is the lack of awareness surrounding CDHPs and health savings accounts (HSAs). One Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) report found that only 13 percent of people with traditional health coverage are familiar with a CDHP.

What does this mean for you as an employer? It’s important to know how people make their decisions to boost enrollment. A recent EBRI report breaks down the percentages:

  • Of those enrolled in a CDHP, 50 percent report that they chose the offering because of the lower premium, and 45 percent say the primary reason they chose the plan was the opportunity to save money in an HSA or HRA (health retirement account) for future years.
  • Of those with traditional coverage, 39 percent report the good network of providers was the main reason they chose the plan, and 32 percent say their primary reason was the low out-of-pocket costs.
  • Some 7 percent of the population was enrolled in a CDHP, up from 5 percent the previous year.
  • Individuals in CDHPs were more likely than those with traditional coverage to exhibit a number of cost-conscious behaviors, like asking for a generic drug instead of brand name, developing a budget to manage health care expenses, and checking the price of a service before getting care.
  • There was no difference in satisfaction with ease of getting an appointment with a doctor or choice of doctors between those enrolled in a CDHP and traditional plan enrollees.

CDHPs: an opportunity to save

As the stats above show, many employees choose a CDHP plan for the opportunity to save money in an HSA. After my recent EBN Benefit Forum & Expo presentation, this new data is especially interesting.

At EBN’s Benefit Forum & Expo, Dennis Triplett of UMB Healthcare and I presented Making HSAs work: Insights and Best Practices. In our presentation, we talked about the two components that make HSAs successful.

And by successful, we mean people actually enroll and have a good experience before, during and after enrollment. You have to have attractive plan design — that achieves the enrollment piece. And you have to have effective, ongoing education — that creates a successful HSA experience.

Not sure where to start? We partnered with UMB to create the most comprehensive HSA communications tool kit in the industry. Check out the case study for some inspiration.

Find more tips on CDHPs and resources for ongoing communication:
Maximize the cost-savings of consumer-driven health plans
Thinking about making the shift to full-replacement CDHP? See our checklist first
Benefits campaign more than doubles CDHP/HSA plan enrollment