Getting employees to support health savings accounts depends on the way they’re communicated alongside the concept of a high-deductible health plan, which can be a tricky proposition. But there are solutions at hand.

Two industry experts have teamed up to provide employers with rich content, as well as an enrollment template and toolkit, for explaining the merits of HSAs. They will reveal their hands-on approach in a workshop entitled, “Making HSAs Work: Insights and Best Practices,” which will take place at the EBN-produced 25th annual Benefits Forum & Expo Sept. 9-11 in Phoenix, Ariz.

The co-presenters include Dennis Triplett, CEO of HSA administrator UMB Healthcare Services, and Jennifer Benz, chief strategist and founder of Benz Communications. Together, they will help attendees crack the code, so to speak, with regard to using HSAs and getting employees to budget better for future health care expenses.

One compelling strategy to drum up interest in HSAs is to apply marketing techniques to target the right messages to the right audience. “Instead of one-size-fits-all for every communication,” Benz says, “the goal is to really focus on some of those key messages based on either what people are doing with their accounts or demographic factors.”

Triplett says it’s important to convey year-round messages about the purpose of a high-deductible health plan, generic drugs, wellness programs and preventive care within a larger health care consumerism context. “We continue to see a lot of employers struggle with that” communication strategy, he observes.

The approach they’re advocating should include a number of communication channels – from the wildly popular social-media platform to traditional avenues.

HSA enrollment increased 18% within the past year to 13.5 million from 11.4 million, according to Americas Health Insurance Plans Center for Policy and Research’s latest census of HSA-qualifying insurance coverage. In addition, Minneapolis-based broker-dealer Devenir found a nearly 21% increase in assets to more than $14.1 billion for 7.1 million accounts between the middle of 2011 and 2012.

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Bruce Shutan, a former EBN managing editor, is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.

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