June: HSAs and FSAs — Remind Employees “How & Why”

In this blog series, we’ll help you improve employee communication with month-by-month benefits topics, along with messaging and ideas proven to grab attention. Plus, throughout the series, you’ll find downloadable templates and examples that save you the brain drain so you can get started quickly.

This blog issue focuses on June, but our downloadable calendar gives you a full 12 months of content.

June: HSAs and FSAs — Remind Employees “How & Why”

You’re almost through the first half of the year, and employees have been (hopefully) contributing to FSAs and HSAs for six months now. Many of them haven’t given much thought to the FSA or HSA since they set their contribution amounts last year. Now’s the time to remind and reeducate them on how to make the most of their pretax dollars.

Theme/Message #1:

Most people think an FSA is for expenses like copays, dental care, and over-the-counter medications. They don’t understand the flexibility (and immediate availability) of their FSA funds. According to money.com, workers forfeit $3 billion a year in contributions.

Theme/MessageHow to Deliver It
“10 surprising items you could pay for using your health care FSA.”  Through email, posters, and other channels, let people know about the lesser-known FSA-eligible items like sunscreen, foot massagers, arch supports, acne products, alternative healing, etc.
Remind them to keep their debit cards handy, and to save receipts…just in case.  
“It’s your money. Use it, don’t lose it.”In an email, boldly feature the link where employees can go to check their FSA balance. They may be surprised to see the full elected amount is already there.
On a poster or handout, you can include a QR code that takes them to the same link above.
Be sure to make them aware of fsastore.com, where they can find over 4,000 eligible products.

Sidenote: Put On Your Open Enrollment Hat!
It may not be on employees’ minds yet, but by now, you’re probably deep into RFPs and spreadsheets. Don’t put communications planning at the bottom of your list. If you’re ready to improve your comms, maybe these recent before-and-after makeovers will inspire you.

Theme/Message #2:

“Making the most of your pretax money” doesn’t necessarily mean spending it…right now. Employees often think an HSA functions like an FSA — use it or lose it. During Open Enrollment, you’re likely explaining all the advantages of an HSA, but also all the regulations. For June, focus on the future and how pretax dollars can save employees big money in retirement.

Theme/MessageHow to Deliver It
“Your retired self has a message for your working self: ‘Save now for health care later.’”Remind people how much the average 65-year-old couple needs to cover health care in retirement — $300,000.
Stress the tax-free advantages and growth potential for funds left to roll over year to year.
“It’s like a 401(k) for health care in retirement.”If your HSA administrator offers investments, use real numbers to tell a story. “In 2020, the average HSA account with invested funds grew by $3,420. The average non-invested account grew by $170.”
Remember to include “who to contact” to initiate HSA investing.

Explain the HSA Better in Your Benefits Guide
If you have more than one page explaining how an HSA works, you’re probably over-explaining (and losing the readers’ attention). Check out these examples.

These tax-free accounts can be hard to understand (and easy to forget about), especially if HR promotes and explains them only during Open Enrollment. A mid-year refresher can bring these funds to the forefront of employees’ minds before the end-of-year deadlines loom.

Stay tuned and watch for next month’s blog that can help you fine tune your messaging on diversity and inclusion, and make sure you’re reaching the employees who need to hear it most.

As we head through 2022, you can find other blogs in this series by typing “year-round calendar” in the search area at the top of our website.

Download the year-round communications calendar – real ideas and examples