HSAs Trending Up

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
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Employees are become more comfortable with the idea of health-savings accounts, but HR leaders need to make sure their organization's policies and procedures support enrollment in such accounts.

HSAs increased to $12.4 billion in assets among 8.4 million health-savings accounts in 2011, an increase of 70 percent in assets and 55 percent in the number of accounts since 2010, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute's 2011 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey. Among the 19.3 million individuals with a high-deductible plan, 38 percent (7.3 million) report they are eligible for an HSA, but do not have such an account.

Considering employers have only been permitted to offer HSAs since 2005, the growth in enrollment of the radically different account can arguably be viewed as significant progress, says Paul Fronstin, director of the health research and education program at EBRI in Washington.

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Alexander Domaszewicz, a principal at New York-based Mercer and leader of its health-consumerism practice, says it typically takes some time for both employers and employees to "digest, absorb and get comfortable" with this new type of healthcare delivery.

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