Knowledge on HSAs Falls Short for Some Consumers

May 11, 2007 ( - The number of those enrolled in health savings accounts (HSAs) is expected to reach 30 million over the next three years, but some individuals still know very little about the plans, according to a recent survey by Mintel.

According to a press release about the survey, while only 13% of respondents currently participate in HSAs through their employer, only one-third of those that are not currently enrolled would not be interested in participating in the plans in the future. One in four respondents in the survey cites pre-tax savings as the most attractive feature of HSAs.

According to the survey, some of the respondents know very little or nothing at all about HSAs, with nearly one quarter saying they “don’t know” if they would want to adopt the plans. The majority of those that said they had little knowledge fell between the ages of 18 and 34.

Consumers are still uneducated about HSAs and their benefits, said Susan Menke, senior financial services analyst for Mintel, in the news release. “Employees are generally given information about their benefits options at enrollment, but on a very limited basis thereafter. On an ongoing basis, many employees must get information by proactively visiting Web sites or requesting print materials. HSA providers, as well as employers, can benefit from more continuous and aggressive educational efforts.

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There has also been other recent evidence that HSAs – or similar plans – have been garnering popularity among employers, including Mercer Health & Benefits’ finding that the percentage of all employers offering a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) based on either a health reimbursement account (HRA) or a health savings account (HSA) tripled in 2006, from 2% to 6% (See Total Benefits: HSA Sway ).