Few Employees Contribute Maximum Amount to HSAs

Employees with HSAs to which employers contribute were less likely to contribute the maximum amount allowed, research finds.

New research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) finds that about 15% of health savings account (HSA) owners contributed the maximum amount possible in 2013.

Older accounts were more likely than those opened more recently to have received the maximum contribution. One-fifth (20% to 21%) of HSA owners ages 45 to 64 contributed the maximum amount in their HSA, compared to 16% of those ages 35 to 44, 7% of those ages 25 to 34, and 2% of those younger than age 25.

The study showed that HSA owners who do not receive an employer match to their health account are more likely to contribute the maximum amount, compared with those who do get a match. In 2013, 14% of HSAs with an employer contribution received the maximum employee contribution, compared with 20% of accounts without an employer contribution.

Men were more likely than women to make maximum contributions to their HSAs. Sixteen percent of accounts belonging to men received the maximum contribution compared to 10% of those belonging to women.

EBRI also found accounts belonging to individuals with distributions from their HSAs for claims were more likely than accounts belonging to those without such distributions to have received the maximum contribution in 2013.

The 2013 EBRI HSA database was used to examine who makes the maximum annual contribution to their account. The database covers 14% of the universe of HSAs and 14% of HSA assets, and represents the characteristics and activity of a broad range of HSA owners.

The full research report, “Maximizing Contributions to an HSA: Findings from the EBRI HSA Database,” is published in the January 2015 EBRI Notes, online at www.ebri.org.