Survey Finds HSA Perception Gap Among Employees and Employers

As employees across the United States are faced with rising health care costs and living with continued health fears in the wake of COVID-19, many are looking to their employers for tools and resources to pay for care today, including health savings accounts (HSAs). To better understand how employees are using their HSAs, Further surveyed 1,200 consumers with active HSAs. When comparing these survey results to an employer survey completed in the fall of 2019, Further found that both groups agree that a comprehensive benefits package is critical to both employers and employees but notably, there were sharp contrasts where employers and employees starkly diverge on how to leverage HSAs – with employers positioning them as savings tools, while employees rely on them as spending tools.

Key Survey Findings Include:

  • Employees depend on employers to provide competitive benefits packages. 70% of consumers said comprehensive benefits are the most important factor, or a very important factor, when accepting a job. Similarly, employers place high value on HSAs as an employee recruitment and retention tool, with 57% and 50%, respectively, citing these as key objectives for offering an HSA.
  • When asked how HSAs are primarily utilized – as a spending or saving tool – employees and employers disagree. 65% of consumers leverage their HSA as a spending resource, with 23% stating they use their account equally for saving and spending. Yet, over 66% of employers associate HSAs with savings only, leaving a gap in how employers are positioning these accounts compared to how employees are leveraging them.
  • 60% of employees report having a high confidence in how to fully leverage their HSAs. Comparatively, 75% of employers say that employees have a high understanding of their HSAs. Yet, only 51% of consumers could correctly calculate how much they would have to pay for a hospital stay based on their deductible and copay, suggesting that both employees and employers may have a false level of confidence when it comes to leveraging HSA benefits.

As open enrollment season nears, now is the time for employers and brokers to change the dialogue around HSAs and ensure that employees understand how to fully leverage this powerful health care tool. Complete survey findings can be found in the library of resources including a key findings fact sheet, whitepaper, infographic, and information on steps that employers and brokers can take to close the perception gap.


This content, research and recommendations are provided "AS IS" and intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for, legal, operational, tax, or other advice. The actual benefits and costs of any programs may vary based upon individual program requirements and business needs.

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