Enrollment growth at health coverage programs that include health savings accounts (HSAs) or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) has slowed to about 18% this year.
The growth rate at health account plans was about half of what it was in 2009, according to United Benefit Advisors (UBA), Indianapolis.
UBA, a benefits firm group, has published those figures in a summary of results from a survey of 11,413 U.S. employers.
A year ago, employers were telling UBA that health account plans were covering about 15% of their employees and health maintenance organizations were covering about 14%. This year, HMOs appear to be covering more employees.
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Enrollment in traditional indemnity plans has fallen so low that UBA has stopped tracking that category of coverage.
Providers of health account plan programs try to give enrollees an incentive to take care of themselves, seek medical care only when necessary, and shop carefully for care by having them use the cash in the health accounts to pay for routine care. Account holders can keep unused assets in the accounts at the end of the year.
HSA programs require enrollees to use high-deductible health insurance arrangements, but the cash in the accounts belongs to the enrollees, and the account can be funded by an employer, an employee, or an individual who has set up a personal HSA arrangement.