HSA Provider to 900,000 Individuals Through 4,200 Employer Relationships
Bank of America today announced the launch of a digital platform for health savings accounts (HSA) to make the tax-advantaged savings vehicle more accessible and easier to use. The new digital platform offers seamless integration between online and mobile channels, as well as:
A bar code scanner to validate qualified medical expenses via mobile devices.
Customized participant experience through targeted messaging, banners and articles.
A new online learning hub for better understanding of health accounts, featuring calculators and helpful content.
“As health care costs persist as one of the greatest financial concerns facing both individuals and companies, making HSAs more accessible and convenient for them is paramount,” said Lorna Sabbia, head of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions at Bank of America. “Unlike other ‘use it or lose it’ vehicles, HSAs can be used to fund qualified health care expenses in retirement, which is why it is so important for individuals to start saving and growing balances now.”
As part of Bank of America’s commitment to working with employers to help employees live their best financial lives, the company has also introduced a number of other enhancements to its Health Benefit Solutions program, including:
Increased fraud monitoring and prevention measures. Additional enhancements include multi-factor authentication, chip-enabled debit cards, and risk-based transaction reviews through a dedicated team of security and privacy experts.
Full integration with the Chief Investment Office (CIO). Bank of America HSA’s investment menu due diligence and oversight have been brought in-house to Merrill and the expertise of the CIO.
Simplified transactions and expanded investment menu. Participants will also have access to simplified investment transaction capabilities – allowing them to make a one-time investment transfer – and an expanded investment menu with the addition of target date funds1 and accessibility through mobile devices.
Increased interest rates. Effective March 2019, interest rates for participants who have an HSA cash balance of more than $7,500 were increased, giving participants the potential to grow account balances faster.
Expanded advisor distribution. To broaden reach to employers, the HSA plan sourcing model has been expanded to include Merrill’s more than 4,100 advisors who hold an Institutional Retirement designation and are now supported by new resources and educational tools.
According to a Bank of America Health Care in Retirement study,2 Americans age 50+ cite health care costs in retirement as their greatest financial concern. In fact, they are nearly twice as worried about the cost of retirement health care as they are about the actual quality of care they might receive. Yet, the vast majority have not factored health care costs into their retirement planning. Only 15 percent of pre-retirees have ever attempted to estimate how much money they might need for health care and long-term care in retirement.
In addition, these latest enhancements follow Bank of America reducing its monthly HSA account fee and eliminating ancillary fees once charged for certain services, such as providing paper statements, excess contribution processing, and contribution slips.
“Health care is expensive and complicated, and HSAs can be an important component of an employer’s overall benefits designed to help employees live well financially today and in retirement,” said John Quinn, head of Institutional Retirement Product and Platform at Bank of America. “We’re doing our part to make this savings vehicle more affordable and straightforward. That’s why we reduced our standard monthly fee by over 40 percent and removed all nuisance fees, allowing us to provide clients a solution with fully transparent pricing.”
1The target date for these funds is the approximate date when an investor plans to start withdrawing the assets from their retirement account. The principal value of these funds is not guaranteed at any time, including at the target date. These funds are designed to become more conservative over time as the target date approaches.
2 “Health and Retirement: Planning for the Great Unknown,” Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, 2014
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 66 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,400 retail financial centers, including approximately 1,800 lending centers, 2,200 financial centers with a Consumer Investment Financial Solutions Advisor, and 1,500 business centers; approximately 16,400 ATMs; and award-winning digital banking with more than 37 million active users, including over 27 million mobile users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bank of America is a marketing name for the Retirement Services business of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp."). Banking activities may be performed by wholly owned banking affiliates of BofA Corp., including Bank of America, N.A. ("BANA"), member FDIC. Brokerage and investment advisory services are provided by wholly owned non-bank affiliates of BofA Corp., including Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S” or “Merrill”), a dually registered broker-dealer and investment adviser and member SIPC.
Mutual Fund investment offerings for the Bank of America HSA are provided by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“MLPF&S”), a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”). Investments in mutual funds are held in an omnibus account at MLPF&S in the name of Bank of America, N.A. (“BANA”), for the benefit of all HSA account owners. Recommendations as to HSA investment menu options are provided to BANA by the Chief Investment Office (“CIO”), Global Wealth and Investment Management (“GWIM”), a division of BofA Corp. The CIO, which provides investment strategies, due diligence, portfolio construction guidance and wealth management solutions for GWIM clients, is part of the Investment Solutions Group (ISG) of GWIM.
Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value
Reporters May Contact:
Julia Ehrenfeld, Bank of America