There’s some good news for those who fear that putting health care financial decisions in the hands of employees might produce nothing but confusion.

Instead, a new survey indicates that employees who actively contribute to their HSAs do indeed become more engaged and involved in managing their health. Buck Consultants, polled 23,000 members of the BenefitWallet HSA system and found that more than half of those actively participating in their HSA had made the effort to set aside more money for potential medical costs than they had before enrolling.

Some 29% said they had opted to have more clear conversations with their doctors about the actual cost of care, and another 13% said they were now working to more actively manage their chronic diseases.

 “HSA members are making wiser health care decisions," said Travis Klavohn, director, Consumer Health Solutions, BenefitWallet. "They are evaluating costs more closely before receiving care, shopping for lower priced drugs and choosing less costly services. They attribute their changed behavior to owning an HSA."


The BenefitWallet: 2013 Member Survey Report found that 90% of HSA members obtain medical coverage through their employer; more employers are contributing to HSAs (75%) than not (25%).

Given the direct control they have over their own health care costs, employees said they actively seek out tools to help them make those decisions, including the ability to review claims or even pay medical claims directly through the HSA member website.


Respondents to the HSA survey also offered their views on the Affordable Care Act, mostly consistent with other recent national sentiment: 42% said they remain undecided about whether or not they’ll obtain health care insurance through the exchanges, with only 23% already convinced they will use the exchanges.

Some 46% said they believed the ACA will increase the overall cost of medical insurance, and an equal number said they believed the ACA will increase their personal out-of-pocket medical costs.

 

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