Recently, Fidelity Investments stated that they had a fifty-three percent rise in the number of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) that were opened in 2012 vs 2011. This brings the total number of HSA accounts handled by Fidelity Investment up from 119,000 to 182,000.
HSAs are tax-advantaged savings accounts available to people with high-deductible health insurance plans, where money can be saved for qualifying medical expenses. Money placed into a HSA (see annual contribution limits) is not taxed. Most banks, credit unions, and brokerages (like Fidelity) will help administer a HSA, if not offered by an employer.
Some employers offer matching savings into HSAs to further encourage their use. Unlike a Flexible Spending Account, the funds in an HSA aren’t use-it-or-lose-it. They roll over to the next year. For this reason, many people are stashing away the maximum in their HSAs each year.
This change in the number of HSA plans isn’t just a reflection of Fidelity’s aggressive sales force. The entire industry is moving in this direction. According to Workforce.com, high-deductible, HSA-eligible plans have grown ten-fold since 2005.
Of course, we’re seeing more high-deductible plans being offered by companies because their cadillac plans are no longer affordable. This trend is predicted to continue in the short-term, as more companies offer high-deductible plans next to their more expensive options and employees choose the cheaper option. However, Obamacare is predicted to have some effect on the number of HSA plans in the future, which may limit their growth.
Do you use an HSA? Are you considering one soon? What do you like or dislike about the HSA?