I was recently asked by a broker I work with to help her with an enrollment meeting. The group had two options available to employees – a traditional PPO plan and an HSA-compatible plan – and I was asked to explain how the HSA worked and answer any questions that might come up.

Unfortunately, the employer had decided to pay the full price for both of the plans and had chosen to pocket the savings from the HSA plan rather than deposit it in the employees' accounts. This makes the HSA option much less attractive for employees since there is no premium savings to pay for up-front expenses like doctor visits and prescriptions. So instead of talking about the benefits of a health savings account, I decided instead to talk about the value of the insurance.

"There's a lot of stuff on the benefit summaries in front of you," I began, " but what I've found is that people tend to focus on a few key items when deciding which plan to go with." One of these is price, I explained, and another is the deductible. In this case the price was the same – the employer was paying 100 percent of the premium for both options – but the deductible was lower on the traditional copay plan.

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