Health Savings Accounts and Credit Unions – Health Management and Wealth Management

Credit unions have long been offering services that complement a health savings account program (even before the health savings account was invented!), and there are even more options available to differentiate your product and add member value.

 
 

When you take a look at the credit union mission in general, helping people is right there at the core of the whole thing. While much has been made of health savings accounts (HSAs) introducing a new era in consumer-driven healthcare, it’s really just variations on a historic theme. While continuing to help people with their savings, investments and spending dollars, credit unions now have a chance to help them with their healthcare dollars. And while we can help them understand and make better decisions about their healthcare spending, there are also opportunities to help them make better decisions about their health.

It is interesting that many of these solutions are already being offered by credit unions as part of general community outreach programs or additional ways to offer member value. By coupling these ideas and products with an HSA product, you can help your organization develop an entire member health program.

Health Fairs / Screenings

Health fairs have been a long-standing community outreach activity for credit unions over the years. Activities and members services can range from free or discounted bone density scans, flu shots, and cholesterol tests to blood drives and seated massages. Events like this can serve two purposes – 1) you can provide additional value to your members who have HSAs by giving them complimentary or preferred access to these services, or 2) you have a captive and interested audience – actively involved with their personal wellness – who could be naturally receptive to the benefits of an HSA. It’s a win-win opportunity for both your current HSA participants and potential new participants.

Events like these can even break the “annual event” mold. In a different variation, HarborOne Credit Union ($1.4B in Brockton, MA) and Brockton Hospital have teamed up to provide complimentary blood pressure checks, cholesterol screenings, and glucose screenings at several Harbor One locations. The program began in March of this year and continues throughout the end of this year.

Prescriptions & Purchasing Power

Prescription drugs continue to grow as a percentage of American’s health care costs. Pricing structures and understanding what is and isn’t reimbursable can be confusing for anyone. Helping cut through that confusion and offering solutions that make it easy to purchase products and apply for reimbursement is another way credit unions can stand out in the expanding HSA market. www.drugstore.com recently launched a separate entryway into their online “store” specifically for HSA participants. The HSA Store will feature products and provide information specifically of interest to HSA account holder while connecting customers to the complete inventory of HSA-eligible products available. Additionally, by opening an account on the website, you can access their HSA Manager, which makes tracking purchases easier. The program allows customers to print receipts for eligible purchases at drugstore.com to maintain records. The receipt will contain only products that may be allowable under an HSA plan. A simple link from your member’s HSA account page to this page can help cut through uncertainty.

Patelco Credit Union ($4.2 B in San Francisco, CA) has recently partnered with Health Plan Partners, LLC, to create the Patelco Rx Savings Program. This partnership is designed to help member families save money on all prescription medication purchases, through a participating pharmacy network including more than 33,000 drug stores. For Patelco’s HSA account holders, this program's point-of-purchase savings structure enables members to quickly and easily maximize tax savings.

 

 

 

Sept. 3, 2007


Comments

 
 
 
  • The Patelco drug plan has saved my wife a fortune in prescription costs. As a student on one of those mandatory student health care plans issued through the school, the drug benefits were dismal, and the costs of her needed prescriptions could have made it infeasible for her to leave work to begin graduate school. Once again, our credit union proves to be an invaluable asset to us, and when she boosts her income after completing her doctorate, that''s just more money Patelco will be getting in deposits. Indeed, a wise investment on their part.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • Great ideas - programs that are all about the member are always valuable, but need planning and structure. These credit unions show they are on target with what members need and will appreciate. One way that credit unions can gain more HSA accounts is by ''selling'' this advantage to employers and to health insurance agents. If an agent or benefits administrator or employer suggest a credit union to be the trustee or custodian of HSA accounts, the credit union has greater potential. These programs as profiled here are a benefit too. But the HSA account base will grow as those employers and agents recommend your credit union.
    Anonymous