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Small Business Digest


The Importance of Education with HSAs

As the need for more effective educational tools grows with the explosion of CDH products, companies such as Fontis Health are filling the gap with innovative products both online and in print versions.

Mike Ankrum, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Fontis Health, identified one of the key reasons that HSAs often fail when they are implemented for the first time – a lack of ongoing education.  Too many employers simply introduce the program, get employees to sign up, and then walk away leaving the employees to figure things out on their own.

Employers must embrace the change from the top down and educate employees to see the benefits, rather than viewing it as the employer shifting healthcare costs to employees yet again.  Companies need to budget for the employer contributions, which should be tied to employee education and incentive programs, and help teach employees to be good healthcare consumers.

Fontis’ program includes several components to ensure employee success including a health and wellness program that utilizes online education and that is tied to incentive accounts.  Their Healthy Incentive Account (HIA) begins at enrollment with an online risk assessment that the employee completes.  The education recommendations are then based off of that assessment and the employee receives a customized program of education and videos.  Fontis tracks when the employee has watched the videos and completed the educational components.  This completion then triggers the employer releasing company HSA contributions to the employee. 

The educational program begins by addressing common myths about HSAs including that these programs are for the “healthy and wealthy” only, that employees don’t know (and can’t learn) how to be good healthcare consumers, and that without fixed copays, they’ll spend a lot more on costs.  The program utilizes claim scenarios to show employees how various costs would come out through a traditional insurance plan and then through a CDH plan.  Examples of video titles offered during the enrollment phase include “what if I have a medical claim in excess of my HSA balance?” “how do I pay providers using an HSA?” and “why do I have to keep my HSA receipts?”  They also offer an online wizard designed to help the employee determine their eligibility and annual HSA contributions. For companies that are unable to use an online enrollment process, Fontis provides the program in a paper format that includes the enrollment educational piece and custom enrollment forms that use the same suggested contribution strategies as the online system.

Fontis’ goal throughout the program is to deliver a consistent message to employees, offer a robust solution to agents that allows them to stand apart in the HSA world, help employers save time by providing ongoing management and customer service to employees, and to help employees become engaged in healthcare consumerism. 

For more information, listen to an interview with Ankrum by visiting and by visiting Fontis Health’s website at

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