UBA: Health Savings Account Enrollment Up, Employer Contributions Down

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Survey Reveals Industry Responses to Account-Based Plans

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'Employees are highly interested in HSA plans even with decreasing employer contributions,' says Les McPhearson, CEO of UBA.

New survey data released from United Benefit Advisors (UBA), the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organization, reveals significant differences in the performance of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) among various industries. The survey of more than 10,000 employer sponsored health plans, finds that overall, enrollment in these account-based plans is increasing, while employer contributions, on average, are stagnant or decreasing.

According to the survey, the average single contribution to HSA plans decreased 14.5 percent from three years ago going from $574 to $491.

Since 2014, HSA enrollment has increased 10.7 percent; since 2013, that number jumps to 53 percent, indicating significant employer and employee interest in these plans over time.

“Employees are highly interested in HSA plans even with decreasing employer contributions,” says Les McPhearson, CEO of UBA. “As we’ve seen, plan design and health care costs have a big impact on the popularity of HSA and HRA options offered by employers.”

“The looming Cadillac Tax is having a double effect: it is making High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) more attractive because of the low premiums, and it’s causing employers to contribute less to HSA accounts connected to HDHPs,” says Niko Washington, Vice President, Employee Benefits Practice, Johnson & Dugan, a California-based UBA Partner Firm. “If an employer and employee contribute too much to an HSA, it can tip the Cadillac Tax threshold.”

Looking at HSA Performance by Industry, UBA finds:

  • Singles/families in the accommodation/food services industries received virtually no support from employers, with average HSA contributions at $149 and $172, respectively.
  • Government employers, on the other hand, offer the most generous contributions at $834 for singles and $1,636 for families, on average.
  • While most industries have seen steady growth in HSA enrollment, the utilities industry not only has the lowest enrollment (3.2 percent), but it is also the only industry to see a decline from three years ago.

“I expect we’ll continue to see employer contributions to HSAs decline as most employers are trying to steer employees to an HRA instead,” says Dan Cattaneo, CEO of Beneflex Insurance in California, a UBA Partner Firm. “A HRA costs the employer less because money is only used if an employee actually has a claim, whereas with an HSA, the contributed dollars immediately become the property of the employee.”

For information about how HSAs and HRAs are performing across the country, by industry, employer size, or region, download UBA’s special report, “HSAs and HRAs: How They’re Doing” at http://bit.ly/1KR3DD9.

Contact a UBA Partner Firm for a customized benchmark survey based on industry, region, and business size. http://ubabenefits.com/locations

United Benefit Advisors® (UBA) is the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organization with more than 200 offices throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. UBA empowers more than 2,000 Partners to both maintain their individuality and pool their expertise, insight, and market presence to provide best-in-class services and solutions. Employers, advisors and industry-related organizations interested in obtaining powerful results from the shared wisdom of our Partners should visit http://www.UBAbenefits.com.


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Carina Sammartino
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