HealthEquity blog

Empowering employees to become informed healthcare consumers


Healthcare in America is seeing massive shifts from the traditional employer-sponsored plans to leaner, lower cost models, where employees are taking on more ownership of their healthcare decisions.

AHIP found enrollment in HSA-eligible health plans increased from 1 million to 21.8 million between 2005 and 2017. With growth of 11.2% from 2017 to 2018 as reported by Devenir.

This is evidence that employers are seeing the value in consumer-directed healthcare (CDHP) and the premium savings over traditional plans. But are they also seeing benefits in the consumerism mindset among their employees?

A recent study by EBRI found CDHP enrollees were more “engaged” healthcare consumers. The study goes on to say CDHP enrollees are:

  • More likely to research doctors and hospitalConsumerism-01
  • Inquire about generic drug options
  • Seek less costly treatment solutions
  • Negotiate lower prices for services
  • Ask questions about coverage for specific medications


Engaged employees have been empowered by their employers to become more active and informed
in their healthcare decisions, and we are just now seeing the fruits of the consumerism ideal in healthcare.


Why this matters?

According to Harvard Business Review, research shows that “when employees feel empowered at work, they have stronger job performance, job satisfaction and commitment to the organization.”


As an employer, you understand the benefits of an engaged workforce and the tremendous value it has on an organization in terms of productivity and retention.


How you can empower employees

Generous HSA Match

Empowering employees could begin with plan design. A CDHP coupled with a health savings account (HSA) and a generous employer match is a great benefit for employees because it allows them to put money away for healthcare expenses on a tax-free1 basis. It empowers them with the ability to choose how and when they spend their healthcare dollars.


Since HSA funds never expire, and are not tied to an employer, it conveys a sense of ownership that helps with empowerment.



Traditional healthcare plans do not require the heavy lift on the part of employees, so there may be growing pains as they learn to adapt and make healthcare decision that will best benefit them. Moving from a healthcare spender to a healthcare saver, viewing healthcare in financial term, and helping employees shift their paradigms to see the value in HSAs is the educational hurdle employers will face.


The good news is there is a lot of help in this area. HealthEquity has a number of resources to help educate employees as they move to HSA-qualified plans.



Other benefits

Employees are not the only beneficiaries, employers also benefit from a more empowered employee base. Although these are secondary positive externalities, employers may see actual financial benefits from empowering their workforce.


Some of the benefits could include:

  • Savings in retention and recruiting costs
  • Tax deductions on seed and matched HSA funds1
  • FICA savings for the employer

Empowered employees have stronger job performance, which allows employers to receive higher potential



In a competitive business environment that has employers looking for ways to find value in healthcare options, some savvy employers have found that HSA-qualified plans and an empowered workforce are just what they need.


As employees become more informed and comfortable making healthcare decisions, it becomes a win-win for both the employees and the organization.

For more information on how to empower your employees with HSA education,



1HSAs are never taxed at a federal income tax level when used appropriately for qualified medical expenses. Also, most states recognize HSA funds as tax-free with very few exceptions. Please consult a tax advisor regarding your state’s specific rules.


HealthEquity does not provide legal, tax, financial or medical advice. Always consult a professional when making life changing decisions.


Topics: HSA, Employers

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