Employees Accumulating Small Savings in HSAs

A study from EBRI shows average HSA account balances have grown over the longer term regardless of how long the account has been open.

Findings from the 2014 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS) show an increasing number of individuals have held their health savings accounts (HSAs) or health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) for three or more years.

One-quarter (27%) had held their account for three to four years, up from 19% in 2008. Thirteen percent had held their account five or more years, up from 4% in 2008.

While the total amount rolled over into HSA and HRA accounts dipped last year ($8.9 billion in 2014, down from $9.4 billion in 2013), the average rollover amounts rose slightly (from $1,165 in 2013 to $1,244 in 2014). Rollover amounts went up with the length of time an individual had held an account. In 2014, those who had held an account one to two years rolled over an average of $982; those who had held an account three to four years rolled over an average of $1,421; and those who had held an account five or more years rolled over an average of $1,428.

Eleven percent of individuals had held an account for more than a year without a rollover in 2014.

Individuals who had held an HRA or HSA for five years or more had $3,092 in their account. Those who had held an account for less than a year had less than $1,500 in their account.

The latest analysis by EBRI shows that the overall, average account balances in HSAs and HRAs was $2,077 in 2014, up from $1,356 in 2008. But, accounts with an employer contribution had higher average balances than those without one: $2,403 for those in which the employer contributed in 2014 versus $2,046 for those in which the employer did not.

The level of the employer contribution also seems to make a difference: Workers whose employers kicked in at least $1,000 a year had an average of $2,768 in their accounts versus $2,183 for those who got less than $1,000 from their employers.

The full report, “Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements: Assets, Account Balances, and Rollovers, 2006‒2014,” is published in the January EBRI Issue Brief, online at www.ebri.org