HSA Benchmarking, The Recessionary Version

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2 March 2009
As financial institutions in the healthcare banking space know well, Celent launched its semi-annual HSA benchmarking exercise in 2008. We initiated this benchmarking in response to the lack of truly meaningful HSA performance data -- i.e., data that would enable banks to assess their own HSA programs vis-a-vis those of their peers. The first benchmarking round took place in the Spring, and was certainly ground-breaking in its scope. As the HSA market began to mature slightly and consumers' experiences became more of a concern, we improved the benchmarking in the Fall 2008 by gathering data about customer service performance; e.g., calls per account, % of calls directed to live customer service reps, first-call resolution rates, etc. Then came the recession. Just after our last benchmarking questionnaire was sent out in August, the stock market tanked, monthly lay-off numbers began rolling in by the hundreds of thousands, and the U.S. government declared that we were "officially" in a recession. This and the banking sector's focus on deposit growth/retention has had a definite impact on our HSA benchmarking design. To design our next (Spring 2009) round, we spoke with many benchmarking participants, asking them about changes/additions that they'd like to see, given the current economic environment. Based on these discussions, it became clear that HSA account profiling and retention data are in much higher demand. As such, the next benchmarking round will collect an expanded set of data that will result in the most relevant HSA information yet, including account aging, account closures, spenders vs. savers vs. investors, etc. Once the results are in, it won't be surprising if we learn that HSA balances have stagnated or dropped, given unemployment and deteriorating investments. For those HSA custodians/banks interested in Celent's next round of HSA benchmarking, there's still time to participate -- please contact Steve Nawrocki for more information.

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