Nearly 15.5 million Americans are now covered by Health Savings Accounts, an increase of 15% from last year, according to a new census just released by America’s Health Insurance Plans. Meanwhile, HSAs have grown to an estimated $18 billion in assets representing over 9.1 million separate accounts, according to the 6th semiannual Health Savings Accounts Survey by Deviner.
“Both employers and employees contributed record amounts to HSAs over the last year, with large employers in particular making significant contributions to their employee’s HAS accounts in an effort to help drive adoption,” said Jon Robb, vice president of research at Devenir.
The America’s Health Insurance Plans census
Health Savings Accounts were originally authorized by Congress in January 2004 with the intent of forcing consumers to get smarter about their healthcare spending. The hope was that HSAs would help control medical inflation by discouraging Americans from running to their local doctor or emergency room for every medical issue that might occur.
Since that time, America’s Health Insurance Plans has conducted an annual census of the number of people covered by HSAs and high-deductible health plans. The most recent census reveals that enrollment in HSA plans has more than tripled over the last six years.
The census also reveals that the greatest enrollment increases were in the large group market, which represents nearly 70% of all enrollments in these plans.
“Health Savings Accounts and the high-deductible health plans that are paired with them are an increasingly popular choice for individuals, families and employers,” said Clare Krusing, deputy press secretary for America’s Health Insurance Plans. “This coverage option provides individuals with a comprehensive health insurance plan, while also giving them the opportunity to save tax-deferred funds for qualified medical expenses, such as doctor visits and prescription drugs.”
HSAs are intended to be used in conjunction with qualified high-deductible health plans, Krusing said. In order to quality, such health plans must currently have a minimum deductible of $1,200 for single coverage and $2,400 for family coverage.
“Consumers, family members, and employers can make deposits into a tax-favored account for qualified medical expenses. Funds not withdrawn for ‘qualified’ health expenses can remain in the account and be rolled over annually to build savings for future health-related costs,” she said..