Enrollment In Health Savings Accounts Plans Increased By 14 Percent

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) recently released the result of their annual census survey regarding Health Savings Accounts (HSA). Survey showed that the number of enrollees in high-deductible health plans linked with HSA plans surged by 14 percent this year. From January 2008 wherein only 6.8 million Americans enrolled in HSA health plans, the number of enrollees has nearly doubled in January 2011.

Approximately 11.4 million Americans are now covered with HSA plans. Statistics show that HSA enrollment significantly rose in the large-group market (26 percent) than in the individual market (15 percent). Employers having 50 or more employees had 6.3 million people in HSA health plans in Jan. 1, 2011. However, HSA enrollment in the small-employer market dropped by 7 percent (2.8 million).

Since 2004, when Health Savings Accounts were introduced to the market, enrollment has risen steadily and significantly. As stated by Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of AHIP, “HSA plans continue to be a vital source of affordable coverage for millions of families and employers across the country.”

Percentage Of HSA Enrollment In Different States Revealed

Census also showed which states had the highest and lowest percentage of HSA enrollees younger than 65 with private health insurance.

Minnesota ranked first with 14.9 percent. Minnesota is then followed closely by Vermont with 11.4 percent and Colorado with 11.3 percent.

States with the lowest percentage of HSA plan enrollees are Hawaii (0.2 %), West Virginia (2.1%) and Mississippi (2.4 %).

According to numerous surveys, HSA growth can be attributed to the low premiums of high-deductible health insurance plans compared to the traditional health insurance plans.

Are HSA Plans Threatened By The Affordable Care Act?

Robert Zirkelback, AHIP’s spokesman, said that despite the growth in HSA plans, the association is still worried about the Affordable Care Act’s impact on Health Savings Account plans.

The Affordable Care Act was made in an attempt to provide healthcare coverage to millions of uninsured people. However, it also imposes certain restrictions on insurers. In particular, Zirkelbach stated that HSA plans could be threatened by a new rule under the healthcare reform law that requires insurers to spend a certain percentage of premiums on medical care or offer refunds to customers.

Aside from that, HSA funds can no longer be used to buy over-the-counter drugs without a prescription coming from your doctor. This particular restriction reduces the consumers’ access to common over-the-counter medications, and instead promotes the use of higher-cost prescription drug options.

Enrolling In Health Savings Accounts Can Still Give You Numerous Benefits

Despite the current changes in Health Savings Accounts, these plans are still being embraced by consumers.

Employers have shown great interest in HSA plans to combat skyrocketing health care expenses and to make their workers more aware of the costs. The contributions placed by your employer are also helpful in reducing the tax amount that they need to pay. In addition, the HSA contributions made by your employer are yours to keep even if you decide to leave or retire from the company.

Since HSA plans are paired with high-deductible plans, you get to pay lower monthly premiums than full coverage plans. To get an HSA-linked health plan, the minimum deductible for individual coverage is $1,200 and $2,400 for family coverage.

The money you place in your HSA earns tax-free. What’s even better is that withdrawals made to pay for qualified medical expenses are not subjected to tax either. Once you reach 65 and above, all the withdrawals you make are tax deferred. In addition, the unused money rolls over every year just like an IRA.

Despite the changes in Health Savings Accounts, a high-deductible health plan combined with an HSA can help you save with low premiums, lower taxes and tax-free savings.