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Health Savings Accounts

Editor’s note: High Deductible Health Plans and their companion Health Savings Accounts are only part of an approach to health care cost and delivery. More accounts mean more people have a stake in their health costs. It also represents the ‘potential’ for people to have savings to pay for their health care costs, but they are far from a panacea. As the following headline shows, and then see the fine details in the report.

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The headline:

Health savings accounts continue to be adopted widely, with an ever-growing number of accounts and assets. Between January 2008 and January 2009, participants in the latest HSA benchmarking survey from Celent experienced a 46.1% increase in the number of HSAs.

The details:

  • Between January 2008 and January 2009, average account balances grew by only 13% to $1,561. This low growth rate can be attributed to a high number of unfunded accounts (accounts with no contributions during the preceding 12 months), which stood at 18%. The reasons for this are the relatively high number of accounts coming online in January 2009 and some banks’ failure to systematically purge inactive accounts.
  • Investments fell of 5% of total assets. This is hardly a surprise, given the recessionary environment, unemployment, and falling investment values. What is quite surprising is that for the larger HSA players, the number of accounts with investment balances barely register; such accounts made up only 1–2% of all accounts.
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    July 6, 2009 - Posted by | Affordability, Cost, Economics of Health care, healthcare |

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