Despite widespread doubts, younger employees appear to be embracing healthcare consumerism.

A recent study finds that HSA participation among Millennials has soared to 76% during 2018, up from 40% last year. At 85%, it was even higher for Generation X, who outdid aging Baby Boomers at 84%. The study, by cloud-based benefits management platform provider Benefitfocus determined that the average participation rate for all employees was 81%. Only Traditionalists (those older than Boomers) had significantly lower participation (51%).

Since 2016, Millennial HSA contributions in particular rose 15% to $2,305 for family coverage and 13% to $1,139 for single coverage. These findings counter the prevailing belief that Millennials, who may be encumbered by student debt or imbued with feelings of youthful invincibility, will consistently seek out the least expensive health plan options available to them, according to Jeff Oldham, Benefitfocus’ SVP for global and institutional markets.

The number of employers offering at least one high-deductible health plan with an HSA option is also rising, up more than 20% since 2016. The percentage of large employers offering these plans grew to 58% from 42% in the past year alone.

These trends present benefit advisers with plenty of opportunities, says Oldham. “Now is probably one of the more dynamic times in the career of a broker or consultant because benefits are diversifying so much.

With HDHPs and consumer-driven health plans gaining in popularity, he says that advisers should ensure that their clients’ employees understand the distinctions between these options and more traditional plans. Part of this, he adds, is educating them about the importance of gap coverage, such as critical illness, hospital indemnity and accident insurance.

In its report, Benefitfocus analyzed the anonymous employee benefit election data of more than 1.3 million employees from 540 large employers.

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