HealthEquity blog

Health plan comparison

compare health plans

Many employees receive health insurance through their job, and these employees expect tools, resources and information so they can make informed decisions about which health plan is best for them and their families. Providing employees with a health plan comparison tool is a great way for employers to support this decision process. Most people are not health plan experts, so it can be difficult to know what to look for when comparing health plans.

 

Why compare health plans?

The costs! Almost everyone wants to save money, and comparing health plans to find the best options can be a great way for individuals and companies to potentially save more of their hard-earned money. If an employer can find health plan options that not only save the company money but also provide employees with potential medical savings and an account to help them prepare for retirement, that heath plan may be a good option. This is one of the benefits of HSA-qualified health plans.

Comparing HSA health plans and traditional health plans

The IRS mandates that HSA-qualified health plans must have a high deductible (for 2018 plans, the minimum annual deductible amount is $1,350 for an individual and $2,700 for a family1). While higher deductibles mean more up-front cost for out-of-pocket expenses, generally these plans cost less (lower monthly premiums), which saves both employees and employers money each month. Additionally, employers have the option to use the money they save to incentivize employees by contributing to their HSAs. 

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Anne Tergesen compared the health plans offered to her by the company she works for and found that having a high deductible health plan with an HSA saved her money, even with her healthcare costs soaring this year because of increased hospital and doctor visits. While her results and comparisons are not necessarily typical, it is an interesting look at one person’s experience trying to decide between a traditional health plan and a high deductible health plan with an HSA.

Tools and Resources

Many employers have a desire to offer a tool to their employees that will help them compare the available options without having to become experts about the health plan options available to them. Sometimes health plans will offer these tools, and other times employers have to seek third party options which can be very expensive. 

Beginning in 2015, HealthEquity created a free tool called CompareMyHSA.com to help groups provide a powerful option to their employees (read the press release here). This tool is available to any HealthEquity employer who offers at least one HSA plan. It is designed to help employees get a quick overview of the plan options available to them and how much they would have to pay out of pocket in certain situations. Interested employers can work with their account manager or contact employer services to learn more about how to submit plan information for a tool. The tool is also available for the public to input their own health plan details and compare.

Conclusion

For employees, choosing a health plan can be an important decision. Employers should consider how they can help with the process by providing workers with tools and resources that create value and supply information that employees need to compare health plan options and make informed decisions about which plan is right for them and their families.

 

1. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-17-37.pdf

HealthEquity does not provide legal, tax, financial or medical advice.

Topics: HSA, Benefit planning, Employers, HSA questions

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