Consumers clueless about HSAsNews added by Benefits Pro on February 24, 2014

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By Kathryn Mayer

Though reports have shown the steady growth of health savings accounts, in actuality, few consumers use the health savings vehicle.

Just 8 percent of Americans have an HSA, according to a new survey from That’s despite the fact that 50 percent say they recognize the benefits and would consider using one.

The reason for not doing so? Probably because most consumers remain confused over them: 86 percent say they don’t understand HSAs, explaining they don’t know how to qualify for one, which medical expenses can be paid for using the account or what the other financial benefits might be.

Specifically, 52 percent incorrectly think they can use HSAs to pay for over-the-counter medications, and 51 percent believe they can use HSAs to pay for premiums. And only 14 percent know an HSA must be paired with a high-deductible health insurance plan.

Princeton Survey Research Associates International surveyed about 1,000 Americans in February and the findings underscore the need for more information about the value of HSAs, experts say.

“With the advent of Obamacare, more Americans are eligible for a health savings account than ever before, but most unfortunately don’t have the necessary information to take advantage of them,” said Laura Adams,’s senior analyst.

She emphasized benefits of HSAs, including that unused funds that can roll over from year to year and its use as a potential retirement savings vehicle.

Last week, investment consulting firm Devenir reported HSAs grew to an estimated $19.3 billion in assets and 10.7 million accounts at year’s end and have grown to more than $20 billion in assets during January.

Meanwhile, the percentage of employers contributing to their employees’ health accounts reached its highest level in years, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

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