CIGNA Says Consumers Clamor for HSA Features

July 19, 2004 ( - Apparently the notion of a Health Savings Account is appealing to consumers, as well as employers, according to a new survey.

When asked directly about their overall interest in a health savings account, more than two-thirds (67%) of those polled said they were at least somewhat interested in such an account, with employees across the age range of 18-59 reporting similar levels of overall interest, according to a new survey by CIGNA, which has just announced a new HSA program that will be effective next year.

More than 8 in 10 consumers said they find the opportunity to secure tax-free earnings or investment income and carryover money from year-to-year to be attractive options, according to CIGNA, while a comparable 80% said it would be appealing if they could take the account with them when they change jobs. Additionally:

  • 65% – said they would find the opportunity to invest the money in the account appealing.
  • 79% – said it would be appealing if they could use the account to help pay for health care after they retire.
  • 57% – would find it appealing if the account included a debit card.
  • 52% – would find it appealing if the account included checks that they could carry with them to pay for their share of health-care expenses.

High Deductible Doubts

While consumers responded favorably to many of the possible attributes of a health savings account, they were divided on the idea of a high deductible plan.

Nearly half (48%) said they preferred to have a health-care plan that costs more through payroll deductions or premiums but has lower deductibles, while only about a third (35%) said they’d rather have a plan that doesn’t cost as much through payroll deductions or premiums, but has higher deductibles. One in five (17%) weren’t sure of their preference.

The CIGNA survey was conducted by KRC Research and fielded betweenJune 18-22, 2004 . It includes responses from a random sample of 802 employed individuals enrolled in employer-based health plans around the country, and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.