Flexible spending account consumer campaign launched

WageWorks Inc., an independent provider of consumer-directed benefits solutions, has announced the launch of the nationwide consumer education campaign -- Save Smart, Spend Healthy.  The campaign will educate Americans about the money-saving benefits that can be achieved with a flexible spending account (FSA).

"While FSAs are widely available to those working for large employers, only 20 percent of employees actually sign up for the benefit," said WageWorks' CEO Joe Jackson.  "This statistic demonstrates a lack of understanding and a clear need for additional education on the advantages of the program."

The Save Smart, Spend Healthy campaign will focus on using the media to inform consumers about the ability to save up to 40 percent on qualified medical purchases when they use an FSA.  In addition, a campaign Web site, the Save Smart, Spend Health campaign, will serve as a resource for those who want to learn more about FSAs.  Featured on the site is advice from personal finance expert Manisha Thakor who also serves as the campaign's spokesperson.

"As health care costs continue to rise, consumers should be taking advantage of money-saving benefits offered by their employers.  Through this educational campaign we hope to inform consumers about the value of FSAs and encourage them to sign up so that they can immediately start saving money," said Jackson.  "Additionally, we hope the benefits industry and employers will use this campaign as a resource for educating prospective FSA participants about the value of the benefit." 

The launch of the Save Smart, Spend Healthy campaign corresponds with the beginning of the open enrollment period, when individuals have a chance to renew or make changes to their benefits package.  According to Jackson, "open enrollment provides the perfect opportunity to reeducate employees about their health care benefits, especially now as the changes passed during health care reform are beginning to be implemented."

Thakor gave her input on the value of FSAs given the current economic climate of recession saying, "As consumers' out-of-pocket health costs continue to creep upward, a flexible spending account is one of the best ways to reduce the impact of these high costs on your family's budget.  The bottom line is that an FSA will help you to keep more of your hard-earned money during these difficult financial times, and that's why it's the perfect time to get educated about them."

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