UMB Releases Industry’s Most Advanced HSA Reporting Tool

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sep 19, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — UMB Healthcare Services, a division of UMB Financial Corporation, introduces HSAWorks(TM), the industry’s most-advanced reporting and first-ever analytics tool that allows brokers, third party administrators, health plans and employers to analyze health savings account (HSA) data to achieve desired plan results.

In addition to HSAWorks(TM), UMB provides its clients a Benefits Communication Toolkit that, paired with the reporting tools, gives employers specific guidance and materials to help in driving their HSA communication strategy and influencing employee health.

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Conservatives in House Unveil ObamaCare Replacement Bill

Conservatives representing nearly three-quarters of the House Republican conference unveiled their proposed replacement for President Obama’s healthcare law Wednesday, delivering on a long-delayed GOP promise.

The bill from the Republican Study Committee would fully repeal the 2010 law and replace it with an expansion of health savings accounts, medical liability reform and the elimination of restrictions on purchasing insurance across state lines.

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Acclaris Innovation Empowers Health Care Consumers

As deductible and co-pay amounts continue to grow in employer-sponsored health care plans, employees are taking greater advantage of the so-called account-based plans that help them pay for deductibles and co-pays with dollars that are set aside in a tax preferred account. Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are helping millions of Americans save money on their out-of-pocket health care expenses.

However, the IRS requires that dollars claimed from these types of plans be approved, or “substantiated” by a third party administrator (TPA) who insures that they meet the requirements of a qualified medical expanse. In most instances, the TPA will require the employee to submit a receipt so the claimed expense can be verified.

The increased use of debit cards associated with these types of accounts has eliminated the need for some of this paperwork, but has created its own set of substantiation challenges. While the cards are able to “auto substantiate” many of the transactions that occur at drug stores and physician offices, some purchases still need to be verified manually by the TPA and this requires the employee to submit a receipt for money that has already been disbursed from the plan.

That happens if the employee no longer has a receipt, or if the purchase does not qualify as a medical expense? In most cases the employer must find a way to collect the non-substantiated amount from the employee, or add the amount as taxable income onto the employee’s W2 at the end of the year. Both of these alternatives create additional paperwork for the employer, and a potentially negative experience for the employee.
Now there is a better way to deal with these unsubstantiated debit card claims. Acclaris, a platform and business service provider leader that enables its clients to transform the way they offer and administer consumer-driven health and reimbursement accounts, has introduced an industry leading claims offset feature that allows the consumer to use yet unclaimed dollars to offset the amounts that were previously claimed, but for which the consumer does not have a valid receipt.

With this new feature, which is available online and on mobile devices, Acclaris enables its client’s consumers to make their own decisions about how to seek reimbursement for eligible expenses. Additional paperwork and potential embarrassment is eliminated as consumers can simply choose to scan and upload images of previously unclaimed paper receipts / EOBs, or use the portal to designate currently unclaimed carrier claims to offset previously unsubstantiated transactions.

About Acclaris, Inc: Through our clients we serve more than 1.8 million active account holders. Acclaris enables our clients to transform the way they offer and administer consumer-driven health and reimbursement accounts, maximizing their revenue and profit opportunity. Our integrated end-to-end operations, consumer focus and true private label approach help our clients increase revenue and lower costs, while delivering market leading CDH products and services under their own brand.
To learn more visit the Acclaris website at

Consumer Driven Health Care Plans Can Help Reduce Health Care Spending and Make Positive Behavior Changes: HCSC

CHICAGO, June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Consumers enrolled in Consumer Driven Health Plans (CDHPs) are more likely to make sustainable, positive behavior change leading to significant health plan spend reductions year over year, according to data studied by Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), operator of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Members who migrated to CDHP plans – those that have a higher deductible, prompting consumers to be more directly involved with the selection and usage of health care services – reduced their health care spending significantly.

This study is unique because of its focus on tracking individual members who migrated from traditional health plan coverage to CDHP coverage in order to analyze their health care behavior and their health care spending habits both before and after the switch. The data also showed that changes in behavior, including increases in preventive care and use of generic prescriptions, helped contribute to a reduction in health care spending for both employers and members.

The CDHP program, BlueEdge(TM), is offered through the four Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, and includes Health Savings Account (HSA) and Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) options. BlueEdge enrollment surpassed 1.5 million members earlier this year, after experiencing double-digit percentage increases for six straight years.

Key results from the study indicate that, following migration from a traditional non-CDHP plan to a CDHP, on average, the CDHP members studied:

  • were four percent more likely to take advantage of preventive services.
  • reduced health care utilization by an aggregate of more than 12 percent.
  • were 10 percent more likely to fill their prescriptions with generics.
  • spent 24 percent less on inpatient hospital services and eight percent less on outpatient services.
  • had a 12 percent decrease in emergency room visits.
  • reduced combined medical and pharmacy spend by an aggregate of 11 percent

In addition, data showed that employers who offered only a CDHP saw even greater spend reductions – up to an aggregate of 14.4% over the three years following migration from a traditional plan to a CDHP.

“Our BlueEdge CDHP program gives consumers the flexibility and tools to help make positive decisions to reduce their healthcare spend, coupled with broad access to care, award-winning service, comprehensive incentives, wellness and care management programs, and a personalized, engaging health care experience,” said Thomas Meier, Vice President, product development, HCSC. “Our experience finds that CDHP members tend to be more engaged and informed in making better health care decisions.”

This is the second year that HCSC has done this analysis, this year studying more than five years of data for more than 265,000 members (with pharmacy data available on 121,000 of those members). HCSC continues to invest in more consumer focused approaches, adding more robust incentives and value-based insurance design products in 2013 to complement both traditional and CDHP plans.

“Our findings are significant because they indicate both real and potential health care spend reductions. Rather than comparing the utilization of different groups of consumers, we have focused on the utilization changes of members who migrated from traditional plans to CDHP. The fact that we are comparing the same members in both plans allows us to minimize inherent risk differentials,” said Guy McGinnis, Vice President, client analytics, HCSC.

About Health Care Service CorporationHealth Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall, with more than 13 million members in its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. HCSC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit , visit our Facebook page or follow us at .

SOURCE Health Care Service Corporation Helps Benefits Managers Educate Employees about Consumer-Directed Health Plans

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., Nov 14, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Optum(TM) is offering benefits managers at companies of all sizes free online resources designed to help educate their employees about consumer-directed health plans and tax-advantaged health care accounts.

The resources, available at, provide benefit managers free tools that can be incorporated into their existing open enrollment and health plan education programs to help employees determine if a consumer-directed health plan and a tax-advantaged health care account is the right option for their health care needs. These tools can be used in employee meetings, on company websites, in mailings to employees or posted in the workplace.

An increasing number of employers are offering consumer-directed health plans with a tax-advantaged health care account. The number of people covered by health savings account/high-deductible health plans (HSA/HDHPs) totaled 11.4 million in January 2011, an increase of 14 percent since 2010, according to a survey of U.S. health insurance carriers conducted by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

“Using a tax-advantaged health account is new for many people. We want to help them understand how consumer-directed health plans work so they can make smart choices at enrollment time and thereafter,” said Heidi Sirota, vice president of marketing for OptumHealth Financial Services(SM). “ gives employers a set of easy-to-use tools to share with their employees so they can decide on the best plan for their situations.”

Key resources on include:

— “Two-Minute Answers” videos that introduce the basics of HSAs;

— brief, interactive presentations employees can rewind, pause, and skip ahead to learn about tax-advantaged health accounts;

— live and prerecorded webinars with experts in health accounts;

— brochures and flyers to share in person or online with employees; and

— simple math examples that illustrate the tax savings of a flexible spending account (FSA) and HSA.

OptumHealth’s financial services business manages more than 2.3 million consumer-directed health care accounts and more than $1.3 billion in HSAs and related investment assets at its OptumHealth Bank(SM), Member FDIC. The financial services business also reduces waste and inefficiency in health care by electronically transmitting about $4 billion in payments every month from health plans to nearly 700,000 doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.

About Optum:

Optum is an information and technology-enabled health services company serving the broad health care marketplace, including care providers, plan sponsors, life sciences companies and consumers. Its business units — OptumInsight(TM), OptumHealth(R) and OptumRx(TM) — employ more than 30,000 people worldwide. Visit or for more information.

SOURCE: OptumHealth


Castlight Health’s Health Care Portal Launched by Esterline Corporation to Complement Innovative Health Benefit Design

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Castlight Health, developer of a personalized health care shopping portal offering unbiased information about health care cost and quality, announced today that Esterline Corporation, a leading worldwide supplier to the aerospace and defense industries headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, will be providing the Castlight portal to its employees across all 23 of its U.S. locations.

In 2004, Esterline piloted a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) to incent employees who need medical care to seek lower cost and better value treatment with lower health care costs the goal. By 2007, the majority of employees had transitioned into CDHPs, but they had limited tools to compare price and quality of care. The company is now looking to Castlight Health to arm their employees with the best cost and quality information to help them control out-of-pocket expenses, and to help them make the right health care decisions for themselves, their families, and their company.

“Our consumer-directed health plan, when combined with Castlight’s portal, will further prove that given the right tools, employees will find better health care value, while seeking appropriate quality care,” said Teresa Sebert, Esterline’s Director of Benefits. “In 2010, our average employee spent 26% less on medical costs than they did in 2006 — including premium and provider direct costs, and the company’s expense was controlled to an average of 6% per year which was better than the market average.  We expect to see further increases in savings with the addition and adoption of Castlight.”

Castlight’s portal is highly personalized with an intuitive interface similar to the most popular online comparison shopping tools. This familiarity leads to rapid user adoption, so large employers across the country can quickly empower their employees to make health care decisions that increase their quality of care while decreasing costs.

“What people often don’t realize is that prices for medical services can vary drastically – even for in-network providers in a single region,” commented Dena Bravata, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Castlight Health. “Therefore, Castlight’s ability to provide a personalized health care shopping portal is paramount, and given that Esterline is a national leader in tackling health care costs, it makes us even more excited to assist their employees in finding quality health care at the right cost.”

About Castlight Health

Castlight Health enables employers, their employees, and health plans to take control of health care costs and improve care. Named #1 on The Wall Street Journal’s list of “The Top 50 Venture-Backed Companies” for 2011 and one of Dow Jones’ 50 Most Investment-Worthy Technology Start-Ups, Castlight Health helps the country’s self-insured employers and health plans empower consumers to shop for health care. Castlight Health is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by prominent investors including Venrock, Oak Investment Partners, Maverick Capital, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Wellcome Trust, Cleveland Clinic, and U.S. Venture Partners. For more information, please visit http//


Healthper Launches Health Engagement Platform

JERSEY CITY, N.J. & SAN FRANCISCO, Sep 27, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Healthper, Inc., a social game-based health engagement and achievement platform, launched today at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco. Healthper helps people accomplish simple daily actions to maintain a healthy lifestyle, create stories about their achievements, share those stories and get rewarded.

“We have been working for almost two years to develop a platform that would engage individuals in making changes to benefit their health in partnership with a social network of their choice,” said John Hammitt, President of Healthper. “Everyone needs help staying healthy. That help can come from our doctors, our family, our co-workers and our friends, but asking for help is hard and often not very rewarding. With Healthper, we’re trying to change that.”

Developed by the former team from CareGain that helped create Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Healthper is not only a game, it is an extensive and flexible health engagement platform designed to create real value for individuals and their health plans. Healthper`s game- and social network-based engagement drives timely health screenings, preventive care, use of alternative and cost-effective care options, and appropriate follow-up.

“There is general consensus that, as a nation, we need to be healthier and find a way to reduce healthcare costs,” said Hammitt. “Rewarding good behavior is a start, but connecting behavior with the payers and providers is a recipe for real change.”

Healthper’s patent-pending “game-steps” are embedded with simple health actions and daily challenges. Members choose their games, each designed to help them achieve their personal goals, thus paving a distinctive path toward a healthier life. Member progress is tracked and displayed as a unique “Healthper Score,” based on points accumulated from successfully completing chosen game-steps. This highly personalized score provides a measure of progress as well as a measure of status. As members rise in social rank within Healthper’s broad community, they may also join more exclusive, focused communities, or organize one or more communities on their own.

About Healthper

Healthper is an innovative health engagement platform. Founded in 2010, Healthper is a privately held company based in Jersey City, NJ. For more information, please visit: .

SOURCE: Healthper, Inc.


UMB Healthcare Services Launches Innovative Toolkits to Help Employers Implement and Communicate Benefit Plans

KANSAS CITY, Mo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–UMB Healthcare Services, a division of UMB Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: UMBF), announced today the launch of three comprehensive toolkits to help employers successfully implement and communicate high-deductible health plans (HDHP) with health savings accounts (HSAs). Developed in partnership with Benz Communications, a leading HR and benefits communication strategy boutique, the UMB Toolkits provide implementation, launch and ongoing communication tools to better enable clients to educate employees, while meeting their goals for HDHP with HSA adoption and use, and empowering employees to become smart health care consumers.

“Realizing the benefits of these plans means effectively educating employees to overcome the hurdles to participant adoption. The UMB Toolkits will set a new industry standard for giving employers and individual account holders the information they need to manage their well-being.”

UMB Healthcare Services developed these toolkits to help overcome the two major hurdles to successful adoption: a lack of adequate understanding of the administrative mechanics of establishing HSA-compatible plans and a lack of effective employee communication to garner adequate participation rates. In a recent Aetna-sponsored poll of human resource professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), more than half of respondents were not comfortable with their level of knowledge about these types of plans. Additionally, 77 percent of respondents reported that they found it challenging to engage employees in getting the best value from their plans, and to encourage them to focus on their health and wellness.

With open enrollment now underway and HSA enrollment on the rise, the need for communication support is particularly evident. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) revealed that as of January 2011 more than 11.4 million Americans are now covered by HSAs in conjunction with high-deductible health plans, a 14 percent increase from 2010.

“High-deductible health plans with HSAs provide employers with the much-needed ability to better engage employees in their health, wellness and financial preparedness to meet current and future needs,” said Dennis Triplett, CEO of UMB Healthcare Services. “Realizing the benefits of these plans means effectively educating employees to overcome the hurdles to participant adoption. The UMB Toolkits will set a new industry standard for giving employers and individual account holders the information they need to manage their well-being.”

The UMB Toolkits were developed to support and enhance communication throughout the open enrollment process and beyond:

  • Implementation Toolkit – Tools and resources to help employers understand exactly what to expect and provide support in designing their HDHP with HSA.
  • Launch Communication Toolkit – Comprehensive tools needed to successfully launch and garner high enrollment in a HDHP partnered with an HSA, including best practices, planning guides, timelines and a variety of communication templates.
  • Ongoing Communication Toolkit –Helps employers continue to educate employees and families, and promote benefit programs year round, to ensure satisfaction with benefits.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to partner with UMB Healthcare Services in creating these innovative education and communication tools for companies focused on introducing HSA-compatible health care plans,” said Jennifer Benz, Founder and Chief Strategist of Benz Communications. “Our signature employee-focused approach is built into the UMB Toolkits, providing employers with everything they need to successfully implement, launch and propel ongoing engagement in a high-deductible health plan with an HSA.”

About UMB:

UMB Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, asset management, health spending solutions and related financial services to commercial, institutional and personal customers nationwide. Its banking subsidiaries own and operate banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. Subsidiaries of the holding company and the lead bank, UMB Bank, n.a., include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company’s proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @UMBFinancial.

About Benz Communications:

Benz Communications is a benefits communications strategy boutique creating integrated employee benefits campaigns for employers committed to nurturing high-performing and satisfied employees. Benz Communications’ clients include Fortune 500 companies, Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, and small- to mid-size companies. Additional information about Benz Communications may be found at


CDHP Enrollees More Educated, Healthier, and Higher-Income Than Those in Traditional Health Plans

WASHINGTON—In the 10 years that consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) have existed they have tended to attract participants who are better educated, healthier, and have higher incomes than people in traditional health plans, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). But in recent years, the income differences have begun to narrow.

For instance, EBRI found that in 2005 CDHP enrollees were more likely than traditional plan enrollees to have household income of $150,000 or more, but by 2010 this was no longer the case. In 2010, CDHP enrollees were more likely to have household income of $50,000‒$100,000, but were not more likely to have household income of $100,000 or more.

Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program and author of the report, said other than for these factors, there are no clear demographic differences between enrollees in consumer-driven health plans and traditional health plans.

The findings are published in the May 2011 EBRI Notes, “Characteristics of the CDHP Population, 2005−2010,” and are available on line at  The data come from the 2005‒2007 EBRI/Commonwealth Fund Consumerism in Health Care Survey and the 2008‒2010 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey.

Employment-based health benefits are the most common form of health insurance in the United States, but skyrocketing health expenses have forced employers to seek ways to control their costs. Starting in 2001, employers started offering account-based health plans—a combination of health plans with deductibles of at least $1,000 for employee-only coverage and tax-preferred savings or spending accounts that workers and their families can use to pay their out-of-pocket health care expenses. These health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) are collectively known as “consumer-driven” health plans, and are designed to give workers more control over how they pay for their health coverage.

Other findings in the EBRI report:

  • Educational Level: CDHP and high-deductible health plan (HDHP) enrollees have consistently reported higher education levels than traditional plan enrollees.
  • Age: In most years of the survey, both the CDHP and HDHP populations were less likely to be young (ages 21‒34) than the population with traditional coverage. However, in 2010, both the CDHP and HDHP populations were more likely to be ages 35‒44. There were no differences in the portion ages 45‒54 and no recent differences in the portion ages 55‒64.
  • Health Status: CDHP enrollees have consistently reported better health status than traditional plan enrollees. They have also exhibited better health behavior than traditional plan enrollees with respect to smoking, exercise, and, recently, obesity rates. HDHP enrollees have also been consistently less likely than those with traditional coverage to report that they smoke, but no recent differences were found in exercise rates and differences have never been found in obesity rates. It cannot be determined from the survey whether plan design had an impact on health status, smoking, exercise, or obesity rates.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) is a private, nonprofit research institute based in Washington, DC, that focuses on health, savings, retirement, and economic security issues. EBRI does not lobby and does not take policy positions.

Source: EBRI

Health Savings Accounts Rise to More Than $11.7 Billion in Total Deposits in June

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) rose to more than $11.7 Billion in June according to a survey and resulting research report conducted by Devenir, an investment firm that specializes in providing investment options for HSAs.

“As we continue to conduct the survey we are finding interesting data points on the HSA marketplace that have not been previously reported at an industry level”

The survey data was collected in July, 2011 and primarily consisted of the top 50 custodians in the health savings account market, with all data being collected for the June 30th period. “As we continue to conduct the survey we are finding interesting data points on the HSA marketplace that have not been previously reported at an industry level,” says Eric Remjeske President and Co-Founder of Devenir.

Key Findings from the Devenir June 2011 survey and research report:

  • Rapid growth. HSAs continue to see strong growth as the total number of HSA accounts rose to 6.3 million with assets totaling $11.7 billion, a year over year increase of 28% for accounts and a 31% increase in assets, as well as 17% growth in assets so far in 2011.
  • Largest custodians hold significant market share. The top 5 custodians hold over $5.3 billion in HSA assets amongst almost 2.7 million accounts, accounting for 45% of all HSA assets.
  • Average account balance grows. The average account balance in 2011 grew to $1,845 from $1,640 at the end 2010, a 12.5% increase. When you eliminate identified zero balance accounts that average rises to $2,016.
  • Contributions and Withdrawals. HSA custodians retained 20% of customer contributions over the past year1.
  • HSA investment dollars continue to grow. HSA investment assets reached an estimated $860 million in June, a 60% year over year increase and are projected to reach $9.1 billion by end of 2015. The average investment account holder has a $12,462 average total balance (Deposit and investment account).

“The industry continues to see strong growth as both employers and individuals recognize the financial and consumer benefits of an HSA,” according to Jon Robb, Lead Research Associate with Devenir. Devenir projects the HSA market to reach $47.3 billion in assets by the end of 2015, a 37% CAGR over the next five years2. Devenir also projects that HSA investment dollars will continue to grow quickly as health savings account user’s balances become larger, representing 19% of all HSA assets by the end of 2015.

1 Estimate derived from Midyear 2011 Devenir HSA survey, press releases, previous market research, and market growth rates.

2 CAGR stands for Compound Annual Growth Rate. Projections are barring any dramatic regulatory or market environment changes.

Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions based on historical growth, the economy and other future conditions and forecasts of future events, circumstances and results. As with any projection or forecast, they are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and changes in circumstances.

About Devenir

Devenir, a full-service broker dealer and registered investment advisor based in Minneapolis, is a national leader in providing customized investment solutions to the HSA Custodian marketplace. As an independent investment firm, Devenir offers a host of investment options to suit the unique needs of employers, banks, third party administrators and plan participants. Devenir provides user-friendly and cost-effective investment platforms by integrating quality investment choices with streamlined administrative processing. This solution allows any bank or third party administrator to attach a robust back-end investment option to most health benefit plans.