- Employees are choosing health savings accounts (HSAs) and voluntary benefits in greater numbers, a new reports from Benefitfocus, Inc. shows.
- According to the "State of Employee Benefits 2018 – Regional Edition" report, participation in HSAs among eligible employees grew by more than 60%, from roughly 50% in 2017 to 81% in 2018. Benefitfocus says the study results also show a significant increase in the number of employees selecting voluntary benefits to address individual needs, from critical health coverage and legal assistance to pet insurance and identity theft protection.
- Choices and costs of benefits vary by region, Benefitfocus found. HSA use is highest in the west, although the midwest is the leader in high deductible health plans (HDHPs). Those in the northeast pay the most for their premiums, regardless of plan type, while employees in the south have the hightest deductibles.
As Benefitfocus noted in announcing its findings, the study's data can allow employers to see how they stack up against other employers in their region. As open enrollment nears, many employers are looking at how they can use benefits offerings to set themselves apart from the competition in the current job seekers' market.
Still, decisions can't be based entirely on region. Employers may want to consider the needs of their individual workforces, or the workforces they want to have. For example, companies can't afford to overlook the unique requirements and inclinations of key segments of the multigenerational workforce when it comes to the benefits offered and how they are administered.
Likewise, communication will be key in help employees understand and select their benefits. Benefits communication should be continuous and occur throughout the year, but open enrollment remains the most critical time for such efforts.