By Tom Torre
Labor markets across nearly every industry are leaner than ever. In healthcare, qualified workers are in high demand and the talent pool seems to be shrinking by the day, making recruiting and retaining employees more challenging—and all the more critical.
Healthcare employers need to leverage every tool at their disposal when it comes to recruitment and retention strategy. The focus needs to extend beyond just pay and perks. And what were once considered options or afterthoughts can no longer be overlooked.
With the latest research showing half of employees wanting better health benefits, and nearly as many specifically calling for better employer health savings account contributions, the time is now for healthcare employers to revisit their HSA program strategy so it’s optimized to not only help them and their employees save money, but also serve as an additional recruitment and retention tool that ties into overall employee financial wellness.
Employee Benefits—Including Employer-Sponsored HSA Programs—Directly Impact Recruitment and Retention
While salary, bonuses, flexible scheduling and other elements are all pieces of the recruitment and retention puzzle, employee benefits also play an increasingly important role. And with more and more employees wanting to take a more active role in controlling their own healthcare costs through pairing an HSA with an HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan, employer-sponsored HSA programs can often provide the extra push one way or the other when it comes to whether to take—or stay at—a job.
A well-structured employer-sponsored HSA program impacts recruitment and retention in more ways than one. With the right strategy and proactive education, an HSA program can be a powerful tool. Simply consider these highlights:
- Employees can save money upfront on insurance premiums by pairing an HSA with a qualified HDHP
- Employees can save money on taxes in multiple ways through an HSA’s unique triple tax advantage
- Employees get the flexibility and portability they want, since there’s no use-it-or-lose-it scenario with HSA funds and they own their HSA and keep the money in it no matter what
- Employees are able to invest their HSA funds tax-free to boost their long-term financial wellness, both for future healthcare expenses as well as other expenses
- Employees can take advantage of “free” money if their employer chooses to sweeten the deal with employer contributions to employee HSAs
An HSA Program is a Must, But All HSA Programs aren’t Created Equal
The days of not offering an HSA-eligible HDHP option at all, or only offering an HSA-eligible HDHP but no employer-sponsored HSA program, are gone.
Offering employees a feature-rich, easy-to-use and maximize HSA program is a must in the modern world—especially in the increasingly competitive healthcare space. But not all HSA providers and HSA programs are created equal.
Some HSAs are still difficult to use and manage. Others offer limited or no investment opportunities. Many HSA providers still treat their HSA programs as afterthoughts taking a backseat to other products offered.
Healthcare employers need to partner with the best HSA provider to create the most attractive HSA program to recruit and retain employees.
Take the time to search out an HSA provider that specializes in health savings accounts and offers the features employees are after, like:
- Easy online enrollment and account management
- Streamlined recordkeeping
- Responsive support
- Personalized guidance
- Comprehensive educational resources and tools to help with everything from contribution planning to HSA investing strategy
- Easy linking of other insurance plans and spending accounts to automate capture of eligible expenses from all sources
- Best-in-class investment options
And on the employer end, an HSA program should offer:
- Simple and seamless online setup and implementation
- Hassle-free program administration
- Feature-rich dashboards
- Time and money-saving automations
- Quick, easy integrations
- Ready-to-use educational and promotional tools and resources to share with employees
- Superior user experience proven to deliver optimal FICA tax savings and other benefits
Consider Adding or Boosting Employer HSA Contributions
Even the best HSA can be made better for recruiting and retention.
Making contributions to employee HSAs is a proven way to attract new talent, keep existing employees and even increase HDHP/HSA enrollment. In fact, recent research found that nearly 86% of employees would consider an HDHP/HSA option if their employer made contributions to their HSA.
Don’t Wait – Reevaluate
A well-structured HSA program through the right partner helps employers put skin in the game to invest in their employees and transforms an otherwise transactional account into a robust tool to help employees save money and improve their short and long-term financial wellness.
Along the way, the right HSA program also arms employers with another recruitment and retention tool and a unique differentiator in the intensely competitive healthcare employment market.
HSAs are on pace to exceed 36 million accountholders by the end of 2023. To stay competitive, reevaluating the effectiveness of their existing employer-sponsored HSA program should be near the top of every employer’s to-do list before open enrollment season hits.
Tom Torre is CEO and co-founder of Bend Financial. For nearly 20 years, Tom has led organizations in the consumer-directed healthcare space. With Bend, he leads a dedicated team helping individuals, employers, financial institutions, health plans and other partners leverage a next-generation HSA platform that improves financial wellness and simplifies healthcare saving.