Most Consumers Think Favorably of HSAs

August 13, 2004 ( - More than seven out of 10 Americans with private health insurance have a favorable opinion of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

When asked what features of HSAs were most attractive, consumers pointed to the rollover of unused balances (91% favorable) and the tax-free nature of the accounts (81% favorable). Personal control, choice, and lower costs are all very favorable attributes of HSAs – with more than seven out of 10 respondents citing one of these attributes when asked about the attractiveness of HSAs, according to survey results released by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

Despite the relative newness of HSAs in the market, 42% of all consumers say they are very or somewhat familiar with HSA style accounts compared with 39% who say they are not all familiar with them. When given a description of an HSA-based consumer choice plan, 71% of consumers have an overall favorable opinion of these types of plans compared with 22% who react unfavorably.

“Although HSAs are still in the earliest stages of development, many consumers clearly indicate this new approach offers new opportunities that they will closely consider,” said AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni.

People react positively to HSAs across party and ideology. The new approach was viewed favorably by 75% of the Republicans and self-described conservatives interviewed, as well as by 67% of the Democrats and 62% of self-described liberal respondents.

HSA-based health insurance plans combine individually owned savings accounts with traditional major medical insurance. HSAs give individuals the opportunity to use tax-free funds to pay day-to-day medical bills and to save for future health care expenses. Under the new law, HSAs are required to be established in combination with insurance coverage through a qualifying high deductible health plan.