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Survey: Employers Shift Toward HSAs, From HRAs

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Health savings accounts appear to be gaining on health reimbursement arrangements in the employee benefits market.

Researchers at the consulting arm of Aon Corp., Chicago, have published data supporting that conclusion in a summary of a recent survey of 434 large and midsize employers conducted by Aon and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, Brookfield, Wis.

About 28% of the employers surveyed now offer some kind of health plan that comes with access to personal health accounts, the Aon researchers report.

Today, about 43% of the participating employers offer only an HRA and 48% offer only an HSA.

In 2005, 65% of the participating employers offered only an HRA and 15% offered only an HSA, according to the Aon researchers.

Only 40% of the employers without account-based plans plan to offer either HSAs or HRAs in the future, and only 12% plan to offer health accounts by 2007, the researchers report.

About 62% of the employers that offer HSAs say they make contributions, and 83% match the employees’ contributions or offer contributions greater than $500 per employee, the researchers report.