HSA documentation Health planpartnerships were the leading driver of new account growth in thefirst half of 2019, accounting for 42 percent of new accountsopened.

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Are consumers finally catching on to the "savings" aspect of health savingsaccounts? Based on the results of the 2019 Midyear Devenir HSA Research Report,maybe.

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At June 30, the amount of assets within such accounts rose 20percent, $61.7 billion, from June 2018, according to data collectedprimarily from the top 100 HSA providers. The total number ofaccounts during that period rose 12 percent, to 26.26 million.

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Related: HSAs: Moving from spending to saving tostrategizing

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Investment assets within HSAs rose 35 percent, to $13.3 billion,thanks to "strong market tailwinds," according to the report.Account holders with investment assets have a total deposit andinvestment account balance of $15,982, on average. At June 30, 22percent of all HSA assets are in investments, and there are nowmore than one million accounts that are investing a portion oftheir HSA dollars — a little more than 4 percent of allaccounts.

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Total HSA contributions also continue to rise, increasing 12percent, to $22 billion. Health plan partnerships were the leadingdriver of new account growth in the first half of 2019, accountingfor 42 percent of new accounts opened.

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"Devenir's latest survey shows that with health care costsrising on the whole, more Americans are finding HSAs to be the bestoption to save for their health care needs," says Shobin Uralil,co-founder and COO of HSA provider Lively. "Contribution numbersare increasing year over year, and for the first time, over onemillion accounts are investing their HSA dollars. As more HSAproviders increase investment education, access and remove fees, weexpect this number to accelerate."

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For all of 2019, survey respondents are projecting 16 percentasset growth across the industry, while expecting their own growthto be 24 percent, on average.

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"In previous surveys, HSA providers have been fairly accuratewith their growth forecasts, demonstrating an impressiveunderstanding of the outlook for their book of business," theauthors write. "Devenir currently projects that the HSA market willapproach $88 billion in HSA assets by the end of 2021, held by over30 million accounts."

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Other key findings include:

  • Devenir continues to see seasonality in the percentage ofaccounts that are unfunded. Accounts are often opened during thefall open enrollment season, but remain unfunded until early thefollowing year. Halfway through 2019, about 15 percent of allaccounts were unfunded, similar to a year ago.
  •  A third (31 percent) of all HSA dollars contributedto an account came from an employer. For those employers makingcontributions, the average amount was $648. Just over half (52percent) came from an employee. For those employees makingcontributions, the average amount was $1,121.
  • Thirteen percent of all HSA dollars contributed to an accountcame from an individual account not associated with an employer.For those making contributions from these sources, the averageindividual contribution was $1,546.

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.