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Tips for Choosing the Right Health Savings Account Provider for Your Business

Lauren Hargrave · March 25, 2024 · 7 min read

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If you’re a Benefits leader, you know that the quality of your benefits can make a huge impact on your business. Providing the “right” benefits, those which are valued by your employees, is essential to improving talent and business outcomes like recruitment, retention and productivity, but it’s only the first step. 

The vendors you choose to provide your benefits must do it in a way that improves employees’ quality of life, while also making benefit administration easier and cost effective for your company. In this post we’ll cover how employers can find a Health Savings Account (HSA) vendor that’s a high quality partner to employees and employers alike.  

Understand the importance of offering an HSA to employees

The number of HSAs opened has increased 5x in the last 10 years, but HSAs aren’t just a popular benefit. They are an essential one. They offer employees the opportunity to save money on monthly premiums and the flexibility to save that money in a tax-advantaged account so they can put it toward the qualified medical expenses they actually need. HSA contributions are tax-free, they grow tax-free and distributions for qualified medical expenses are tax-free as well. That means employees can save up to 37% on their medical expenses, depending on their tax bracket. 

Having a safety net for their health-related expenses can improve their physical health. That’s because people who have a way to pay for healthcare are more likely to get it. And people who get the healthcare they need when they need it, tend to be physically healthier than the people who don’t. Having a workforce that is physically healthier benefits companies because physically healthy employees are more productive employees.

In addition to their base contributions, if employees choose to invest their money, they can grow their savings faster. This can help improve their financial health as well as their physical health over the long-term. That’s because employees own their HSAs so they never lose access to their savings. HSAs roll over from year-to-year and remain theirs when they leave an employer which allows employees to maintain their safety net. HSAs even begin to function as a traditional retirement account once account holders turn 65, with the caveat that distributions made for qualified medical expenses remain tax-free. Distributions for all other expenses are subject to the appropriate income tax rate.

The fact that HSAs can help employees improve their physical and financial health are two prominent reasons they have become such a popular benefit. The key is to find an HSA vendor that administers its plan in a way that makes it easy for employees to invest and grow their savings, charges low or no fees and makes benefit administration easy and cost-effective.

Know what your options are

There are several different categories of HSA providers: banks, financial institutions, credit unions and nonbank HSA custodians like Lively. In order to figure out which is the right type of partner it’s helpful to consider the value propositions that are the most important to your company from an administrative and employee standpoint. Here are some features that could be important:

  • Hands-on, responsive, and knowledgeable customer service

  • Transparent pricing

  • Easy-to-use platform and mobile app

  • Simple, intuitive user interface

  • Streamlined integrations and reporting 

  • Investment options for account holders

Several online outlets recently ranked the top HSA providers. You can read their assessments here and here.

Find a provider that helps you make the most out of your benefits

In order for your benefits offerings to have the biggest value for your company and your employees, they must be both utilized and cost-effective. It’s helpful to look for a vendor with the following attributes:

  • Offers advanced technology and provides clear and actionable reporting through an easy-to-use online dashboard.

  • Easily integrates into your current benefit management system.

  • Provides comprehensive customer support, onboarding, and extensive resources for internal staff as well as employees.

  • Offer transparent pricing for both the company and employees. 

  • Can support the needs of a diverse workforce.

  • Provides ways for employees to invest their contributions and grow their savings (so they’re able to meet rising healthcare costs).

  • Makes it easy for employees to save.

  • Helps your company navigate the legal complexities of offering an HSA.

  • Supports employee communication and engagement.

The right provider can make the difference between employee engagement with their benefits and low utilization and dissatisfaction. 

Always ask about hidden fees

Before choosing an HSA provider, make sure to ask for the complete fee schedule for both the plan administration and employees. Here are some common fee types to look for:

  • Employees: investment fees, monthly account fees, withdrawal penalties, and miscellaneous fees like issuing checks.

  • Employers: per employee fees, administrative or maintenance fees, onboarding fees, debit card fees, and transaction fees.

If, after reviewing the fee schedule, you’re unclear how any of the fees are calculated, make sure to ask for a breakdown in writing.

Make sure to find flexible programs

Whether you’re a small business or Fortune 500 company, finding benefits providers that can meet the diverse needs of your workforce as well as scale with the pace of your company’s growth is essential. It should give employees:

  • Debit card options so employees can pay for expenses at the point of service.

  • Flexibility in terms of how much money they keep in each of their account types (savings vs. investment account).

  • An easy way to manage their accounts.

  • Different investment options that can cater to varying comfort levels and competency.

It should make it easy for employers:

  • To add and remove employees from the plan.

  • To adjust plan details based on their annual needs. 

  • To determine pricing based on needed adjustments.

  • To onboard new employees.

  • To administer the plan in conjunction with their existing HR information systems.

An HSA that makes it easy for your employees to use their accounts for savings, spending on qualified medical expenses, or investing means it can better serve employees at different phases of their lives and careers.

Use a provider that offers simple, easy-to-use technology

Companies can get the most value from their HSA when they work with a provider that offers advanced technology with a platform that is simple to use. The best technology will integrate smoothly with employers’ existing HR management platform(s) including those for payroll and benefits administration, will offer clear and actionable reporting and make it easy to scale the benefit at the rate of company growth. And it will do all this while being easy to use.

It’s a good idea to look for an HSA platform that offers a clear, clean and easy-to-use dashboard. In addition to getting a demo, ask to see sample reports, what it looks like to onboard or offboard an employee, and any other functionality you will need.

Work with a vendor that provides excellent customer support

Even the most seasoned HR teams will need support with their benefits management and education. Whether it’s software integration or questions from employees, you’ll want to make sure your HSA provider is available and able to resolve your issues. 

Ask about the type of customer service they provide. Questions you can ask include:

  • What is their average response time? 

  • What is their average time to resolution? 

  • What are the hours their customer service is available? 

  • What types of support do they provide to administrators as well as account holders? 

  • Do they provide dedicated onboarding and year round support for HR teams? 

  • Do they provide employee education and communication materials?

You’ll want to make sure their answers are satisfactory to you and will work for your HR team and the rest of your team.

Get started today!

If you’re looking to level-up your benefits offerings with a best-in-class HSA, reach out to Lively today. We offer low and no-fee accounts, diverse investment options, an expressly designed platform, a mobile app, in-depth customer support and more.

Lauren Hargrave

Lauren Hargrave

Lauren Hargrave is a writer from San Francisco who focuses on technology, finance and wellness. She follows comedians like most people follow bands and believes an outdoor sweat session can cure almost any bad mood. She’s also been writing her first novel for so long, her mom doesn’t ask about it anymore.

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Disclaimer: the content presented in this article are for informational purposes only, and is not, and must not be considered tax, investment, legal, accounting or financial planning advice, nor a recommendation as to a specific course of action. Investors should consult all available information, including fund prospectuses, and consult with appropriate tax, investment, accounting, legal, and accounting professionals, as appropriate, before making any investment or utilizing any financial planning strategy.



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