Survey Finds Healthy Trends in HSA Offerings, Enrollments

A new survey finds that health savings account (HSA) offerings have surged from five years ago – and that enrollment in those programs is up nearly 140% in that period.

New survey data from United Benefit Advisors finds that 35.1% of all plans offer a health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), though that’s up only slightly from the 34% who did in 2015. However, an HSA is offered in a quarter (24.6%) of plans, a 21.8% increase from five years ago, according to the 2016 UBA Health Plan Survey. The report notes that HSA enrollment stands at 17%, up 25.9% from 2015 — and nearly 140% from five years ago.

The average employer contribution to an HSA is $474 for a single employee (down 3.5% from 2015 and 17.6% from five years ago) and $801 for a family (down 9.2% from last year and 13.7% from five years ago).

Gains ‘Taking’

Very large employers (1,000+ employees) have made what the report characterized as “surprising” gains in attracting employees to HSA plans (they lead with 19.1% enrollment on average). According to the report, while these large groups lead in enrollment, it is interesting to compare enrollment with prevalence rates. Generally, average prevalence and enrollment rates for HRAs both hover around 10%. Average HSA enrollment, however, is 17%, compared to a 24.6% prevalence rate. The gap is more striking among these large groups who, although they have the aforementioned average 19.1% enrollment rate, have a 41% prevalence rate. This indicates an opportunity to improve employee interest in these plans, according to the report.

‘Average’ Bearings

The average employer contribution to an HSA is $474 for a single employee (down 3.5% from 2015 and 17.6% from five years ago) and $801 for a family (down 9.2% from last year and 13.7% from five years ago). There was a 26% increase in the number of individuals enrolled in HSAs, likely due to the increase in CDHP enrollment (CDHPs often have HSAs tied to them). Since 2013, there has been a 97.7% increase in enrollment, indicating significant employer and employee interest in these plans over time.

Singles at companies with 200 to 499 employees receive the lowest HSA contributions ($409). Singles at some of the smallest companies (25 to 49 employees) receive the most generous contributions ($543) on average.

Like their single counterparts, families get more generous contributions from small employers. The average family HSA contribution in groups with 25 to 49 employees was $908 (though, in general, small employer contributions have been declining over time).

Industry Contributions

Across most industries, HSA contributions are, for the most part, down or unchanged from three years ago. Government and education are the only sectors with average single contributions well above average and rising. Government employees had the most generous contributions for singles at $850 on average, up from $834 in 2015. The government sector also has the highest employer contributions for families on average, at $1,595 (though that is down from 1,636 in 2015). Educational employers are the next most generous, contributing an average of $636 for singles and $1,131 for families.

Singles in the accommodation/food services industries received virtually no support from employers, with average HSA contributions at $166. The same is true for families with HSA plans in the accommodation/food services industries, with average family contributions of $174.

Retail employers also remain among the least generous contributors to single and family HSA plans, contributing $305 and $470, respectively. This may be why they have low enrollment in these plans.

The education sector has seen a 109% increase in HSA enrollment since 2013 (aided by employers’ generous contributions, according to the report), catapulting the industry to the lead in HSA enrollment at 23.8%. The professional/scientific/tech and finance/insurance industries follow closely at 23.3% and 22.1%, respectively.

You can download UBA’s “Special Report: How Health Savings Accounts Measure Up” here (free registration required).

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