AHIP: Health savings accounts grow in popularity

Health savings accounts (HSA), including high-deductible plans, have proved quite popular as almost 17.4 million people now have this type of coverage, according to a new census released by America's Health Insurance Plans.

That's an increase of 12 percent from last year. The census also shows that HSAs have grown about 15 percent on average each year since 2011. The large group market has led this growth, representing 74 percent of all HSA enrollments.

"HSA plans are increasingly becoming an important and valuable coverage option for consumers and employers," AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said Wednesday in a statement. "HSA plans provide important tools to support consumers and families in their health care decisions and to help them save for future medical expenses."

AHIP also finds that a majority of the HSA plans provide enrolled consumers access to various tools and resources, including information for selecting appropriate providers and hospitals, to help them make more informed decisions.

Other findings from the census include the fact that a small majority (52 percent) of individual members enrolled in HSA plans are at least 40 years old, and Illinois has the most HSA enrollees with almost 1.5 million people in such plans. Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan round out the top five states for HSA enrollment.

Despite the increased use of these types of policies, a recent survey determined that consumers still know very little about HSAs and high-deductible plans, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. The survey from Alegeus Technologies found that only 30 percent of HSA members could pass a basic quiz about the plan.

To learn more:
- read the AHIP statement and census (.pdf)