HSA growth has stalled since 2014: EBRI

In a recent analysis of several industry surveys, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) tried to determine the number of individuals enrolled in health savings account (HSA) plans. Depending on the survey and the sample size, estimates vary from as low as 21.4 million individuals to as high as 33.7 million. However, the one consistent finding across all the surveys is that there has been very little growth in HSA plan enrollment since 2014.

EBRI analyzed data from the EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Kaiser Family Foundation, Mercer, and the National Center for Health Statistics. EBRI noted that several factors may be holding back enrollment into HSA-eligible health plans, such as:

  • The looming Cadillac tax should have accelerated enrollment growth into HSA-eligible health plans, but there is no evidence of that.
  • Recent low health insurance premium increases combined with low unemployment may have caused employers to hold off on plans to move to HSA-eligible health plans.
  • The findings of new research relating to the some of the impacts of HSA-eligible health plans may be holding back growth. Recent research has found that HSA-eligible health plans may be associated with a reduction in appropriate preventive care and medication adherence. These findings may cause employers to hold back from adopting HSA-eligible health plans. They may also cause employers that offer HSA-eligible health plans as a choice to hold back from moving to only offering HSA-eligible health plans.
  • Growth in HSA-eligible health plans may be held back because what constitutes an HSA-eligible health plan does not provide employers their desired level of flexibility around the design of the health plan.

SOURCE: www.ebri.org
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