Total U.S. Enrollment in Health Savings Accounts Tops One Million
Enrollment in health savings accounts reached 1.03 million U.S. residents by the end of March, compared with 438,000 in September 2004, according to a survey conducted by America's Health Insurance Plans, the Washington Times reports. The survey, released on Wednesday, polled 99 health insurers offering HSAs. According to the survey, HSA enrollment for individuals saw the largest increase, to 556,000 residents (Higgins, Washington Times, 5/5).
Employee enrollment at businesses with more than 50 workers increased to 162,000, and enrollment at businesses with less than 50 employees increased to 147,000, the survey found. Data on the remaining enrollees was incomplete, the survey stated (CQ HealthBeat, 5/4). Employees accounted for 92,000 HSA enrollees in September. Among small businesses offering HSAs, 37% said they previously offered no coverage to employees, according to the survey. Additionally, the survey found that 27% of individuals who enrolled in HSAs said they previously had no health insurance (Washington Times, 5/5).
Of individuals who purchased HSAs, 48% were younger than age 40 and 52% were 40 or older, the study found. Among large businesses, 55% of enrollees were younger than 40 and 45% were 40 or older. In small businesses 56% of enrollees were younger than 40 and 44% were 40 or older. According to AHIP, the survey "shatters the myth that these new products only attract young and healthy individuals" (CQ HealthBeat, 5/4). The number of insurance companies offering HSA plans increased from 29 in September to 99 in March.
AHIP President Karen Ignagni said the survey's findings show HSAs are "resonating with people who haven't had these kinds of options in the past" (Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times, 5/5).
Adam Miller, a health insurance analyst at Williams Capital Group, said HSAs could increase their share in the health insurance market, but their success depends on how "the investment vehicles and high-deductible plans are structured for companies" (Washington Times, 5/5). The study is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the study.