Among the alphabet soup of consumer-driven health plans, health savings accounts (HSAs) are growing at lightning speed. Since they were created only three years ago, more than three million Americans are now covered by HSAs, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the Washington, D.C.-based trade group to companies that provide health insurance coverage. That figure will continue to grow, predicts Jerry Ripperger, director of Consumer Health at The Principal Financial Group, because “what we’re seeing now is adoption [of HSAs] from the individual and small group market into the large group market.”
For instance, The Principal, a global financial company in the retirement/health care space, plans to offer an HSA to its employees come January 1. “We’re going to have a pretty sizable number of participants in the plan,” Ripperger suggests. Small businesses were the first group to embrace HSAs because unless they’re set up as a C Corp., he notes, they’re not allowed to participate in other consumer-driven health plans like Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).
A number of bills are also wending their way through Congress that are designed to increase HSAs’ “attractiveness,” according to Ripperger (for a table describing those bills, please see this story in the November issue at www.investmentadvisor.com).