WellsFargo HSA - for the steam punk generation

Published June 19th, 2007 edit replace rm!

Sorry international readers, here is another US focused article.

HSA’s are the greatest thing in Health Care in the US since, well the inventions of Aspirin, Penicillin and Peptobismol. Unfortunately hardly anyone has even heard about them, which is a shame as they are ideally suited to people in startups and a fantastic deal.

I wont go into why HSA’s are so good as Auren wrote a great piece on Health Savings Accounts here. This was written in 2006, they are even better for 2007.

To sign up for a HSA you need to find a bank that offers them. I went ahead and signed up for a WellsFargo HSA account. It was recommended by my BlueCross High Deductable Health Plan and I so far like WellsFargo as a bank.

Big mistake, and I really should have read the warning signs:

  • No one at my local WellsFargo branch new about the WellsFargo HSA’s nor had even heard about them.
  • The sign up process included printing out a pdf form, filling it out by hand and mailing it with a check.
  • The HSA is part of some separate strange benefits subsidiary of WellsFargo

Well I guess I’m not one for heeding warning signs. The account opening process after mailing it was:

  1. The check got cashed within a week
  2. 2 weeks later I heard from them with a welcome letter
  3. 1 week later I received a letter explaining their online account management system
  4. On logging in (They have 2 separate systems with separate passwords) I found I had a $0 balance
  5. Their system also identifies me as an employee of BlueCross of California???
  6. I called them up to ask about this and they had no record of any payment
  7. I gave them the information from the check they promised to investigate and call me
  8. A week or so later the funds were there but no phone call
  9. I finally received the VISA debit cards (for paying medical expenses) I’m guessing 5 weeks after the initial application

OK, so things are fine and dandy, they were a bit slow, but now we are in business right? I want to setup an automatic transfer from my bank account. That would seem to me as the most natural thing in the world with an HSA account.

I search through their site (http://wfhbs.com/shieldca/) and nothing. I find a form to send a check along to them and a form for them to automatically do direct deposit’s from my HSA in my bank account, but nothing about automatically depositing from my bank account to my HSA.

So I call them to ask how I do this. Unfortunately I’m informed that that I need to go to their site and download the pdf, print it out, fill it out in black ink and send it by mail with a check (every month).

I tell them surely that can’t be right in 2007. She says they are working on offering automatic deposits in 2008. I’m wondering does this mean that corporate customers have staffs of people employed downloading pdf forms, filling them out by hands and sending checks in the mail for each and every employee’s HSA account?

Anyway thankfully there is a hand pdf available on the site that I can download and fill out by hand and send by snail mail to roll my HSA account over to HSA Bank, who has a full online enrollment process. They claim I will receive my VISA cards within a week. I will be able to fund the account online within 2 days of my application and also setup regular monthly transfers.

Posted June 19th, 2007

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Comments
jc5921@hotmail.com

Human Resources February 8th, 2008

I work for a company that offers HSA’s and contributes money to them weekly. Your comments are right on Wells Fargo is terribly slow at doing anything weather enrolling employees, depositing mailed checks, taking ACH draws, etc. You name it and it takes 2 weeks. Their customer service is average but they don’t contact you if there is any problems you have to contact them.

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