Friday, May 1, 2009

News You Can Use: Pick a card, any card

Okay, full disclosure: This data comes from a company that sells prepaid benefit cards, but still -- if you're looking to implement an HSA, HRA or FSA, a survey from Evolution Benefits shows that a benefit card could make all the difference.

Health care consumers report the availability of benefits cards positively influenced their decision to sign up for tax-favored accounts, including FSAs, HSAs or HRAs, Evolution finds. Benefit cards also made accounts easier to use and more effective.

The survey was created to gauge the effectiveness of three program components: cardholder communication; benefit card usage; and the benefits of having a card associated with a health care account. Evolution Benefits developed and conducted the survey, which was distributed to MasterCard cardholders at 10 employers in various industries.

Two-thirds of the nearly 900 respondents indicated that availability of the card influenced their decision to sign up for the benefit, while almost three-quarters said that having a card made using their account funds easier. The majority of consumers commented that they have encountered few – if any – problems and know exactly where the card can be used.

Card communication, in fact, was rated as good to excellent. As a result, 92% of the respondents said they knew where and how to use the card – and which items are eligible for pre-tax treatment based on IRS guidelines. In addition, 87% of respondents found it advantageous to have point of service substantiation.

Do you offer a benefits card? How well is it working for ya? Comment and let me know.


MaryG said...

We have offered a flex debit card to our clients for two years now. The groups that offer this option have increased employee participation on average by 50 percent. Employees that have the flex debit card really love not having to submit claims and waiting for reimbursement. We only tie the card to FSAs currently.

Frank Deeter, Ins Specialist said...

We use Comsumer Choice Plans out of Paducah, KY as our TPA for all of our CDHPs and use a combination of HSA, HRA and FSA.

CCP uses BankCorp debit cards and we have very, very few problems with either the card or CCP.

Ann said...

We offer one for our FSA and it has achieved near universal dislike. We find that the backend on pharmacies is spotty- resulting in the ability to use the card, with the caveat that receipts still have to be saved and turned in. Additionally, it seems that making this relatively painless and mindless does not really fit with the concept of CDHC. Consumers who aren't grappling with the realities are not really "informed."