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Bank: HSA Plan Members Just Plain Folks

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Holders of high-deductible, health savings-account-compatible health coverage are similar to holders of comparable traditional health coverage, a HSA supplier says.

HSA Bank, a unit of Webster Financial Corp., Waterbury, Conn., has published that finding in a summary of results based on survey responses from 3,669 employees of companies that use HSA Bank as an HSA provider.

An HSA is a financial account that gives a taxpayer the ability to deduct some money spent on health care from taxable income and keep any unspent funds left over in the account at the end of the year for later use. Congress has tried to hold the loss of tax revenue from the HSA program down and encourage consumers to shop carefully for health care by requiring HSA holders to combine HSAs with health insurance policies that impose relatively high deductibles.

In the past, some health policy researchers and policymakers have wondered whether the combination of the HSA and high-deductible health insurance would make HSAs appealing mainly to younger, healthier, higher-income taxpayers.

At HSA Bank, about 57% of the holders of HSA-compatible coverage are age 45 or older, compared with about 61% of the traditional coverage holders, and 95% of the HSA holders consider themselves to be in average or better health, compared with 94% of the traditional coverage holders.

About 44% of the HSA holders have annual household incomes between $25,000 to $75,000, and 45% of the traditional coverage holders have annual household incomes in that range, HSA Bank says.

About 27% of the HSA holders said they have had checkups in the past 12 months, compared with about 26% of the traditional coverage holders.

Only 25% of the HSA holders — and just 23% of the traditional coverage holders – said they ask about the cost before going to the doctor for an office visit.