Survey: Use of health savings accounts growing

A new survey suggests that health savings accounts are becoming increasingly popular, with the number of accounts and level of assets rising steadily. A new study from Celent reported that the number of HSAs increased 46.1 percent between January 2008 and January 2009, and their asset base grew by 62.6 percent.

Average account balances grew by only 13 percent, to $1,561, but that number was dragged down the 18 percent of accounts with a zero balance and a failure of banks to purge inactive accounts. But future numbers should look different, with a relatively high number accounts being created in January 2009.

Investments as a percent of total assets, meanwhile, fell off 5 percent, due to a mix of recessionary pressures, unemployment and falling investment values.

Another piece of survey data was that debit cards--while attached to almost all HSAs-are only used for 66 percent of funds disbursed. Checks account for 20 percent of volume.

To learn more about this survey:
- read this Healthcare Finance News piece