February 01, 2013
Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements
"After a slight drop during the recent recession, health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) are showing renewed growth, the average account balance increasing over the past two years, according to new research by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). These individual health accounts are a central element in so-called “consumer-driven” health plans, which first began to appear in the work place about 12 years ago. They are designed to give individuals more control over funds allocated for health care services, thereby causing health plan participants to spend the money more responsibly. According to results from the 2012 Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS), sponsored by EBRI and Mathew Greenwald and Associates, average account balances leveled off in 2008 and 2009, and fell slightly in 2010, but increased in 2011 and 2012. Specifically, average account balances rebounded to $1,470 (up 9 percent increase from 2010) and to $1,534 in 2012 (a 4 percent increase). In 2012, there was $17.8 billion in health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), spread across 11.6 million accounts, according to the CEHCS. This was up from 2006 (when there were 1.3 million accounts with $873.4 million in assets) and 2011 (when 8.5 million accounts held $12.4 billion in assets)."