More Employers Offering HSAs in 2011

February 13, 2012 ( – Bank of America Merrill Lynch reported a record of 34% growth in Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) in 2011.

The growth is attributed to increases in account use among employees of existing corporate clients, and new relationships with individuals and employers.

Justin Raniszeski, Health Benefit Solutions executive for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told PLANSPONSOR he views a few different drivers behind the HSA growth.

According to Raniszeki, employers that do not have an HSA option are finding it harder to compete with other companies for potential employees. “We see a lot of employers adding this to their suite of benefit packages,” he said.

An HSA is also starting to become a less scary option to employees, said Raniszeki. “Employees are much more aware of the financial benefits today and in retirement in terms of these products. They can start to save every year and start to build a nest egg for health care funds.” The fact that employees are more aware of this option has also helped the growth of HSAs.

Kevin Crain, head of Institutional Retirement & Benefit Services for Bank of America Merrill Lynch added, “The use of HSAs is rapidly increasing, based in no small part on the rising cost of health care to employers and employees alike. We see more and more companies, including many of our corporate clients in the large and middle markets, adding consumer-driven health plans to their broader benefit offerings.”

“In addition to the tax benefits, these accounts offer individuals more control over their health care spending and the option to accumulate longer-term health savings,” said Crain. “They also encourage more responsible use of health services and lifestyle decisions.”

“We are excited to see it is starting to drive the behavior change of what employees and employers have asked for,” added Raniszeki. “It is starting to make employees better shoppers when selecting health care products and services. Employees are starting to take the lifestyle choices they make more seriously.”