Industry Poll Finds HSA Support

September 29, 2005 ( - Despite claims by critics that consumers may have to delay or go without medical treatment if they have a health savings account (HSA), an industry poll found that is not the case.

A survey by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association found that HSA participants are no more likely to delay care than those with more traditional coverage.

For example, 41% of those in an HSA had asked for a generic prescription drug, compared with 40% for those not in a consumer-driven plan, according to the survey. Twenty two percent of HSA holders reported they had delayed going to the doctor, compared with 25% of those in other plans, Blue Cross reported.

The survey of nearly 3,000 consumers conducted in August found that 68% of HSA enrollees are satisfied with the performance of their insurer, 71% are happy with their access to preventive and wellness care, and 69% are satisfied with health benefits information offered by their plan.

In fact, 65% of those surveyed who purchased an HSA themselves said they would recommend HSAs to others, while 61% of those with the coverage chosen by their employer indicated this, the survey said.

The Blue Cross survey found similar demographics and health status between HSA enrollees and those with traditional policies. The majority of HSA enrollees (63%) were 35 to 54, compared to 48% of those in more traditional health plans, the survey said. About a third of those with an HSA had an annual income of less than $50,000.

Eighty-nine percent of those in HSAs described their health as good, very good, or excellent, while 87% of those in more traditional plans did so. Similar figures were recorded for those enrolled in health reimbursements accounts (HRAs).

Meanwhile, 12% of HSA enrollees said they lacked health coverage in 2004, while 11% of those with HRAs said they were similarly uncovered. Just 6% of those in traditional health plans said they were uninsured in 2004, according to the survey.

The survey is available here .