Employer Contributions to Health Accounts Falling as Individual Contributions Rise

Enrollment in health savings accounts (HSAs) and heath reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) continues to grow, but contribution patterns to these account-based health plans are changing, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

Collectively, HSAs and HRAs are known as “consumer-driven” health plans. According to the latest EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey, there was $12.4 billion in HSAs and HRAs, spread across 8.4 million accounts in 2011. This is up from 2006, when there were 1.3 million accounts with $873.4 million in assets, and 2010, when 5.4 million accounts held $7.3 billion in assets. This growth reflects the increasing number of employers that offer these account-based health plans.

The EBRI survey found that about two-thirds of workers with an HRA or HSA reported that their employer contributed to their account in 2011, a level that has remained steady since 2006. However, employer contribution levels have declined for some enrollees.

Specifically, for those with employee-only coverage in these plans, annual contributions from their employer have fallen since 2008: The percentage reporting that their employer contributed $1,000 or more to the account dropped from 37 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2011. Employer contributions of $1,000 or more to those with family coverage remained steady at 64 percent, EBRI found.

By contrast, individuals’ contributions to HSA plans have increased: the percentage contributing $1,500 or more increased from 21 percent in 2006 to 44 percent in 2011.

The full report is published in the February 2012 EBRI Notes, online here. The press release is online here.

About ebriorg
President and CEO, EBRI

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