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Now More Than Ever, the Individual HSA Experience Matters

Aug 18, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Every day, more and more healthcare consumers—both employees and those who are self-employed—are choosing to take a more active role in controlling their healthcare costs short and long term through pairing a health savings account (HSA) with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).

As of the first of this year, more than 31 million HSA accountholders throughout the nation were holding more than $87 billion in HSA assets, marking a nearly 10% year-over-year increase in accountholders and 31% in assets. And market projections estimate that by 2023, those numbers will jump to more than 36 million accountholders holding more than $127 billion in HSA assets.

The popularity of leveraging an HDHP/HSA combination only continues—and will continue—to rise.

On top of that, perhaps with an added push from the pandemic prompting almost everyone to revisit their finances, HSA investing surged over the past year, and at the end of 2020, around 1.7 million HSA accountholders were investing at least a portion of their HSA funds. In fact, HSA investment asset growth increased by an astonishing 52% in just one short year.

Taking all this into account, one thing is clear—the individual HSA experience matters now more than ever.

The Evolution of HSA Accountholders

HSAs and their accountholders have come a long way.

When HSAs were launched nearly two decades ago, healthcare consumers were already beginning to feel the effects of ever-rising healthcare costs. However, in the early years of HSAs being in existence, many consumers stuck with their traditional insurance plans—mostly due to confusion, misconceptions and lack of education surrounding what HDHPs and HSAs were and how they worked.

And even those who did choose to pair an HSA with their HDHP typically used their HSA as a basic, transactional account to help cover healthcare expenses over an annual cycle. Essentially, they viewed, funded and spent down their HSA funds similar to other established accounts like a flexible spending account (FSA). Very few accountholders harnessed the power of HSA investing or even gave the unique, long-term savings potential of an HSA much, if any, thought. And HSA investment opportunities aside, some accountholders weren’t even aware of basic HSA details, like the fact that HSA funds roll over year over year indefinitely with no penalty, and that you never lose your HSA funds, even if you switch health insurance, change jobs or retire.

But that was then. And lots of things have changed since 2003.

Healthcare costs have only continued to rise. And over the years, more and more healthcare consumers have become more educated on and comfortable with HDHPs and HSAs, leading to sharp and steady upticks in HDHP and HSA usage—especially over the past few years.

HSA accountholders have also continued to become more financially literate and gain a better grasp of all the benefits an HSA offers, both short and long term.

HSA accountholders have evolved. Their needs have changed. And what were once options from an HSA experience standpoint have now become expectations. Simply consider this—in a recent poll, 82% of HSA accountholders expected that a modern HSA investment platform should offer options like fractional trading, equities investing and exchange-traded funds.

The Evolution (or Lack Thereof) of HSA Providers

By and large, HSA providers have offered, and continue to offer, a mixed response to the ongoing evolution of HSA accountholders and their needs and expectations.

Some HSA providers, like Bend, have adjusted, adapted and expanded their offerings to meet the needs of modern HSA accountholders—especially when it comes to increasingly important elements like HSA investing.

Other HSA providers, however, have overlooked and continue to overlook the individual HSA experience.

Oftentimes, especially for larger organizations, the HSA product offering in and of itself is an afterthought. There’s no need to innovate or focus on individual user experience when HSAs are just a miniscule part of their overall book of business.

Others place their main focus on the experience for their partners, whether the health plan they’re linked to or the employer groups, brokerages or other partners they serve. The individual HSA experience gets lost in the shuffle, and HSA accountholders are left with an account—and an experience—that’s less than ideal and hinders their ability to achieve HSA success.

Critical Elements for HSA Success

So what does an optimal individual HSA experience look like? What are the key elements individual users need to have to succeed in their HSA goals?

While there may be no one singular HSA blueprint, there are a variety of essentials all HSA accountholders can benefit from, including:

  • Comprehensive educational resources
  • Easy linking of health, dental and vision plans and personal spending accounts
  • Streamlined recordkeeping
  • Automated capture of all HSA-eligible expenses from all sources
  • Decision support tools to help with contribution planning and HSA strategy
  • Modern, easy-to-navigate user experience complete with at-a-glance dashboards
  • Responsive support
  • Real-time, personalized guidance
  • Best-in-class investment options seamlessly integrated into the HSA platform
  • FDIC-insured security

It’s also important to note—everything listed needs to be available to both individual HSA accountholders along with employees who open their HSA through their employer-sponsored HSA program. A better individual experience is a must for everyone—especially since many individuals, self-employed and otherwise, don’t receive the employer-driven communications and support that their employer-sponsored HSA program participant counterparts do.

Get the Best Individual HSA Experience With Bend

Whether you’re self-employed, already have an HSA with another provider, have an HSA through your employer-sponsored plan or otherwise, Bend is the partner you need to provide the best individual HSA experience and help you achieve maximum HSA success.

Remember these three key points:

  1. You can have more than one HSA
  2. Not all HSA providers are created equal—especially when it comes to user experience, personalized guidance and investment options
  3. Only Bend provides industry-exclusive, personalized guidance to help you learn as you go and become an HSA expert

Bend isn’t your ordinary HSA provider. And the Bend HSA platform is anything but ordinary. Every element of the Bend experience has been thoughtfully designed to make HSAs easy to use and understand for everyone, while providing access to the industry’s best tools, resources, guidance and investment options.

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