Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/11/prweb8954114.htm, original title, “New Surveys Reveal Consumers Taking Charge of their Healthcare Costs with Health Savings Accounts”
Employers and consumers alike are adopting Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) as a viable way to manage their health care costs without compromising care, according to two recently released national surveys. The "2011 Employer and Account Holder Surveys," commissioned by ACS, A Xerox Company, and conducted by Buck Consultants, show a majority of small employers (77 percent) believe that High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) with an HSA are key in controlling health care costs. Additionally, more than half (56 percent) of account holders have found that their HSA-qualified plan provides an affordable health care option.
"This year's survey results reveal an interesting phenomenon — HSAs are doing more than just saving consumers and employers money. They are prompting a shift in behavior that is helping employees make better decisions about their own health care," said Tom Hricik, principal, The ACS | HSA Solution. The surveys show that HSAs put consumers in the driver's seat when it comes to managing their health services and care. Three-quarters of respondents say the ability to personally control their own health costs is an "extremely" or "very" important benefit of HSAs. Not only are account holders setting aside more money than before they had an HSA to cover potential medical costs (54 percent), but they are also engaging in healthier lifestyle choices (18 percent), researching preventive care programs (18 percent), shopping for lower priced prescription drugs (28 percent), and planning health care better throughout the year (31 percent). Individuals perceive that they consume medical services at approximately the same rate but are shopping for care more than before.
Employers and employees are benefiting from more educated, responsible health and wellness decisions, but the benefits don't end there. HDHPs are less costly to employers for both individual and family coverage. Employers report that the cost of providing HSA-qualified plans is less than the cost of providing a standard Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). The average direct cost to provide an HDHP/HSA is $5,469 for individual coverage and $9,909 for family coverage. In comparison, the average PPO cost is $7,158 for individuals and $10,691 for family.
These positive trends in cost savings and account holder behavior make it easier for employers to continue offering competitive healthcare options for employees, said Hricik. He said surveyed employers are extremely committed to offering employer-sponsored health insurance for the foreseeable future, and are equally committed to retain their HSA-qualified plans. Only 6 percent stated that they are at least very likely to discontinue offering the HSA-qualified plan in the future. And, only 7 percent of employers stated they would be at least very likely to move employees to future health care exchanges.
For more information about Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), or to learn how to obtain HSAs for your employees, please contact one of our ESG Human Resources Consultants at 888-810-8187.
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