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Posted October 26, 2018


I recently worked with Jeff Bakke, WEX Health’s chief strategy officer, to cohost an America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) webinar on consumer-directed healthcare plans (CDHPs) and how they can be used to improve employer partnership and member engagement. In addition to sharing the full webinar with WEX Health Partners, I’m highlighting some of the best practices that Jeff and I have come across in our work at our respective companies.


As uncertain out-of-pocket expenses and rising deductibles combine to put financial strain on more Americans, Jeff and I have both become passionate about the role that CDHPs can play in reducing financial stress and empowering employees to successfully manage their healthcare expenses. But first the challenge is to educate both employers and employees about the plans and to engage them with the accounts before and after open enrollment. Here are six of the chief learnings that Jeff and I shared in our webinar about maximizing engagement with CDHPs:


  1. Get involved as early as possible with a new employer. Getting on the same page with an employer is a must. If possible, review their existing plan documentation early on, and gain an understanding of their employee populations and how to best reach them. Not only will this inform your recommendations going forward, but it will allow you to inject account-based plans into the conversation from the beginning.


  1. Don’t overwhelm employees with information during open enrollment. Instead, give them the personalized experiences and communications they need when they need it. People can consume only what’s relatable to them in the present. Consider how you can deliver individual employee guided tours, and when certain tips and resources will be best received.


  1. Maintain personal touches with employees post-enrollment. Look for ways to continue to create in-person touchpoints with employees, whether with an outreach call after they experience their first medical claim with an HRA account or by hosting a brown-bag session where employees can have their individual questions about their CDHP answered.


  1. When person-to-person isn’t feasible, email is the next best way to communicate. Some employees prefer paper, depending on industry and demographics, but overall, email is the preferred method for employees to receive information about their CDHP accounts. We’ve also learned that, for quick updates, people prefer text messages or automated notifications—e.g., “Your HSA available cash balance is below $250.00.”


  1. Help employees track and measure their healthcare goals online. Beyond just working with employees to establish an HSA or HRA savings goal at open enrollment, it’s important to provide tools for employees to be able to measure and track their progress toward that goal and to make changes as needed.


  1. Give employees ongoing access to online tools and resources. Employees need to be able to have their account information at their fingertips when they want it. Dashboard views can give employees a consolidated snapshot of their experience and how their plan is working. People generally don’t spend a lot of time making decisions about their healthcare benefits, but if we can give them the data in an easy-to-use, accessible way, they’re more inclined to make better decisions as they move forward with their plans.

Kathy Anderson

Kathy Anderson

Senior Manager, CDHP Operations at HealthPartners

At HealthPartners, Kathy Anderson oversees the successful implementation of all Health Reimbursement Account and Flexible Spending Account plans. She partners with Sales to build and maintain strong client relationships and manages the daily administration of these products. She was also the Business Project Manager for the implementation of the WEX Health platform in 2016.

Prior to joining HealthPartners in 2001, Kathy worked as Manager of Health Plan Accounting at United Health Group and was an auditor at KPMG. Mrs. Anderson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Accounting from Drake University.