By Dan Cook
Consumers are figuring out how to use health savings accounts, and the more experience they have with them, the better they like them.
That's what several years of research by the HSA Council of the American Bankers' Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans shows. In the latest of three HSA data reviews, the data showed that nearly twice as many people opened an HSA in 2012 as in 2010, an indication that consumers are more aware of the value offered by HSA and are more comfortable using them to manage their health-care expenses.
See also: HSAs reach nearly $23 billion
In addition, the study found, people are becoming better and more active managers of those dollars. In 2012, 52 percent of HSA account holders spent in excess of 80 percent of their dollars for health care expenses.
“This study confirms that HSAs are being used as they were designed: to pay for routine health care needs and to save towards future medical expenses,” ABA’s HSA Council Executive Director Kevin McKechnie said. “HSAs have the advantage of offering consumers greater choice and control over their health care.”
Among the key findings:
- Consumers rely on HSAs when planning for future medical expenses. More than half (55 percent) of all HSAs received personal contributions during 2012;
- Roughly 80 percent of accounts surveyed had a positive balance that could be carried over to the next year to help pay for future expenses;
- More than half (55 percent) of all HSAs received personal contributions during 2012 and 44 percent of the accounts received employer contributions;
- Of those accounts, the average personal contribution was $2,337 and the average contribution from employers was $1,142;
- 58 percent of all accounts had withdrawals during the year. Of those accounts, the average withdrawal during 2012 was $2,081;
- 31 percent reported having $1 - $499 in their accounts at year-end. This was the highest percentage in the six categories, ranging from $0 (19 percent) to $5,000 (12 percent).
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Originally published on BenefitsPro.com