Growth in Health Savings Accounts may have stalled, says EBRI

Many accounts are unfunded and not receiving contributions, group finds

Feb 20, 2018 @ 2:45 pm

By InvestmentNews

Growth rates in health savings account (HSA)-eligible health plan enrollment have been trending down since 2014, showing very little growth since then, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

EBRI, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group in Washington, found that across five separate surveys, enrollment growth rates in HSAs have been trending down — from as high as nearly 70% a decade ago according to one survey, to as little as zero percent in 2017, according to the surveys.

"One factor that may be holding back growth in HSA-eligible health plan enrollments may be that employers don't find the desired level of flexibility around the design of the health plan," said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI's health research and education program. "Combine that with recent low health insurance premium increases and low unemployment, and employers may be holding off on plans to move to HSA-eligible health plans."

EBRI notes that while some surveys may show increases in the number of HSA accounts, many accounts are unfunded, and a growing number are not receiving contributions, suggesting that a large number of accounts may be owned by people who have disenrolled from an HSA-eligible health plan. As such, the absolute number of accounts may not a good proxy for trends in HSA-eligible health plan enrollment, EBRI said.

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