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July 2008 return to the table of contents

HSA Enrollments Continue To Rise, New Trends Surfacing

With insurance coverage and account custodian openings increasing, three new Health Savings Account (HSAs) trends have surfaced in the latest round of research conducted by Information Strategies, Inc. (ISI).

At the same time, account custodian numbers continue to grow with an average 18% increase on a quarter-to-quarter basis for the period ending June 30.

While the total number HSA accounts are growing, expected to double in 2008, there is a definite seasonality to purchases. 

Third quarter expansion will be less than in the first two quarters of 2008 but greater efforts focused on adding sign-ups is expected in the final three months with a significant increase in total insurance and account custodian usage predicted for January 2009.

Among the other findings of the latest 2,000+ interviews with HSA purchasers are:

  • Individuals continue to be significant purchasers of HSA insurance
  • Larger companies are joining with smaller entities in offering HSAs to their employees
  • Contributions to savings accounts are rising but the impact of layoffs is depleting some reserve funds.

One trend surfaced in this latest flight of interviews was that younger employees are embracing HSAs as a retirement/emergency funding program. 

To date, ISI has interviewed more than 34,000 HSA users over the past four years.

Of the 312 respondents who had lost their jobs in the first half of 2008, 56% said they had used HSA account monies to pay some or all of their COBRA charges.

Fully 11% of individuals interviewed said they had been given funds in lieu of a company sponsored healthcare benefits program.

ISI also has identified significant changes in agent/broker attitudes towards these consumer directed offerings.  The percentage of agents reporting that they include HSAs in their first proposals to company management has risen past the 30% mark.

One interesting new statistic that is encouraging for insurance providers is the fact that that the number of respondents who said HSAs were their first choice rose above 50%. This is the first time this preference has been reported by a majority of respondents.

A significant majority of respondents (61%) also said that they were not cutting down on their contributions due to the spike in fuel costs.  Many (27%) did say they might delay depositing the monies for a quarter to see how the impact of high costs is affecting their total financial position.

 

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