HSAs: Client Success Story – LA Mission

In our latest video, the Director of Human Resources at the Los Angeles Mission discusses the benefits they’ve seen from their Health Savings Account program with Sterling Administration.

Learn more about HSAs and Sterling Administration.

Watch HSAs: Client Success Story – Northern California Teamsters Trust here.

Employers turn to high-deductible health plans as benefit option: Survey

Editor note: This article originally appeared here.

Nearly half of small and midsize employers will include a high-deductible health plan among their group health benefit options by 2015, according to a survey by Itasca, Ill.-based Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

High-deductible health plans were the second-most common coverage offering among the 957 employers polled in Gallagher’s “2013 Benefit Strategy and Benchmarking Survey,” with 34% currently offering high-deductible plans to their employees alongside more traditional plan types.

Among employers not currently offering coverage through an HDHP — also known as a consumer-driven health plan — nearly 23% said they plan to do so by next year, according to an executive summary of the survey released Thursday.

Seventy-seven percent of employers offer coverage through a preferred provider organization, while 32% offer a health management organization plan, according to the survey.

More than 92% of the employers polled in Gallagher’s study had fewer than 5,000 full-time workers, according to a spokesman for the brokerage, and 75% had fewer than 1,000 workers. The full study results will be published Monday.

Drive to control costs

The prevalence of small and midsize employers concerned about controlling health care costs in the near term — with 80% of all employers in the survey ranking it among their top three challenges for 2014 —likely is a key driver in the growing interest in high-deductible plan designs.

“Finding the right balance between maintaining an engaged workforce and effectively managing the total cost of that workforce was a key focus for all organizations,” Sean Schubert, Gallagher’s vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement.

While they appear to be gaining in popularity as a coverage option among employers, employee enrollment in HDHPs remained relatively low in 2013, according to the study. Less than 15% of employers polled said their HDHP was their most popular plan offering, compared with 58% that said their PPO option drew the greatest number of enrollees.

About one in five employers said their HMO was their most popular plan among their workers.

Do you have questions about high-deductible health plans? Click here to contact us.

Satisfaction Levels Rise for Consumer-Driven Health Plans, Slip for Traditional Coverage

Editor Note: This article originally appeared here.

Americans with health insurance appear to be warming up to so-called consumer-driven health plans, even as the traditionally greater popularity of traditional health plans is slipping, according to new research from the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

Based on seven years of surveys, the EBRI/MGA 2012 Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey finds that traditional plan enrollees were more likely than those in consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to be extremely or very satisfied with the overall plan in all years of the survey. However, satisfaction levels trended up in most years of the survey among CDHP enrollees and trended down among traditional-plan enrollees.

Enrollees in CDHPs and HDHPs were much more likely to report that they were not too or not at all satisfied with their health plan, but those dissatisfaction levels appeared to be trending downward in most years of the survey, said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education program, and author of the report.

“Dissatisfaction with out-of-pocket costs may have been driving these overall satisfaction trends,” Fronstin explained. In 2012, 44 percent of traditional-plan participants were extremely or very satisfied with out-of-pocket costs for health care services other than for prescription drugs, while 18 percent of HDHP enrollees and 27 percent of CDHP participants were extremely or very satisfied.

“Satisfaction rates for out-of-pocket costs were much higher among those with traditional coverage than among those with either an HDHP or CDHP, though regardless of plan type, satisfaction with out-of-pocket costs was consistently low,” noted Fronstin. “However, satisfaction rates do appear to be trending upward for those with a CDHP.”

Yet, in 2012, the survey continued to find that individuals in a CDHP or an HDHP were less likely than those in a traditional plan both to recommend their health plan to friends or co-workers and to say they would stay with their current plan if they had the opportunity to switch. Those findings may have been driven more by out-of-pocket spending than by quality or access to care, noted Fronstin.

The full report is published in the August EBRI Notes, “Satisfaction With Health Coverage and Care: Findings from the 2012 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey,” online at www.ebri.org.

Health Savings Account Enrollment Reaches 15.5 Million

Editor Note: The original press release can be found here.

Nearly 15.5 million Americans are covered by Health Savings Account (HSA)-eligible insurance plans, an increase of nearly 15 percent since last year, according to a new census released today by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). The census also found that the greatest enrollment increases were in the large group market, which represents nearly 70 percent of all enrollment in health savings account/high-deductible health plans (HSA/HDHPs) in 2013.

HSA plans were authorized by Congress starting in January 2004. Since then, AHIP has conducted an annual census of the number of people covered by HSA/HDHPs. This year’s census shows that enrollment in HSA plans has more than tripled over the last six years, from 4.5 million enrollees in January 2007 to 15.5 million in January 2013.

“HSA plans have given individuals and employers a valuable coverage option,” said Karen Ignagni, AHIP President and CEO. “HSA plans encourage individuals to take an active role in their health care decisions while stretching their health care dollars.”

Key findings from the census include:

  • The number of individuals with HSA coverage rose to nearly 15.5 million in January 2013, up from 13.5 in January 2012. Enrollment has continued to increase each year of the census with 11.4 million enrolled in coverage in January 2011, 10.0 million in January 2010, 8.0 million in January 2009, and 6.1 million in January 2008.
  • Between January 2012 and January 2013, the most significant enrollment gains occurred in the large group market. The number of HSA/HDHP covered lives enrolled in large group plans increased from 7.9 million in January 2012 to 9.6 million in January 2013.
  • Forty-nine (49) percent of all HSA/HDHP enrollees in the individual market (including dependents covered under family plans) were age 40 or over; 51 percent were under age 40.
  • States with the highest levels of HSA/HDHP enrollment were Illinois (903,000 enrollees), Texas (889,364 enrollees), California (808,019 enrollees), Ohio (686,616 enrollees), and Michigan (577,208 enrollees).

Consumer Decision-Support Tools for HSA Enrollees

The census also found that the vast majority of individuals enrolled in a HSA plan have access to a variety of tools and resources, including information for selecting appropriate providers and hospitals, to help make more informed health care decisions for themselves and their family members.

To learn more about Sterling Health Savings Administration and Health Savings Accounts, click here.

To learn more about the value of HSA plans, visit the Health Savings Alliance at http://www.hsaalliance.org.

To view the full report, click here.