Health savings accounts
What they are:
A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to taxpayers in the United States who are enrolled in an HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan.
HSAs can grow tax-deferred in your account for later use. There’s no deadline for making a withdrawal: Consumers can reimburse themselves in future years for medical costs incurred now.
HSA contribution limits:
Individuals (self-only coverage) - $3,350 (up $50 from 2014)
Family coverage - $6,650 (up $100 from 2014)
The annual limitation on deductions for an individual with family coverage under a high-deductible health plan will be $6,650 for 2015.
The maximum out-of-pocket employee expense will increase next year to $6,450 for single coverage from $6,350, and to $12,900, from $12,700, for family coverage.
The out-of-pocket limits include deductibles, coinsurance and copays, but not premiums. But starting in 2015, prescription-drug costs must count toward the out-of-pocket maximum.
Account numbers — and exploding growth
Health savings accounts have grown to an estimated $22.8 billion in assets and roughly 11.8 million accounts as of the end of June, according to the latest figures from Devenir. The investment consulting firm said that’s a year-over-year increase of 26 percent for HSA assets and 29 percent for accounts.
Devenir projected that the HSA market will exceed $24 billion in HSA assets covering more than 13 million accounts by the end of 2014. Longer-term predictions are far greater: The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism, for one, estimates that 50 million Americans will be covered by HSA-qualified health plans by Jan. 1, 2019, and that HSA adoption will grow to 37 million.
Who’s using them
Both men than women. The gender distribution of people covered by an HSA/HDHP as of January 2014 was evenly split — 50 percent male and 50 percent female. But males have more money in their accounts. At the end of 2013, men had an average of $2,326 in their account, while women had $1,526, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. EBRI reported that older individuals have considerably more money in their accounts than do younger HSA users: Those under 25 had an average of $697, while those ages 55-64 had an average of $3,780, and those 65 or older had an average account balance of $4,460.
Other things of note