Report Cites HSA Premium Drop in 2005

July 29, 2005 ( - Health insurance premiums in plans sold as part of a Health Savings Account (HSA) program dropped an average of $29 per month ($348 yearly), according to a new report.

A news release from eHealthInsurance, a Mountain View, California-based online health coverage provider, said that HSA-eligible health insurance plans continue this year to provide many of the benefits expected in comprehensive health insurance plans. For example, nearly 80% of the plans purchased had prescription drug coverage and more than eight in 10 of the HSA-eligible plans had comprehensive OB/GYN coverage at no cost to the plan holder. Also, all of the plans include emergency room, hospitalization and lab/X-ray services, according to the news release.

“Clearly health insurance companies across the nation are responding to the demand for affordable, quality HSA-eligible health insurance plans,” said Gary Lauer, CEO of eHealthInsurance, in the news release “After four consecutive years of double-digit increases in health insurance premiums overall, the more affordable HSA programs will continue to be an increasingly popular option for consumers.”

Other findings in the latest report include that:

  • In 2005 there is a modest shift toward plan purchasers in lower income levels. The percentage of HSA-eligible plan buyers in the first half of the year with incomes at or below $50,000 increased by 2.5 percentage points from the previous year.
  • the percentage of HSA-eligible plan purchasers with incomes of $15,000 or less who were previously uninsured increased 5.1 percentage points from 44.4% to 49.5%.
  • the proportion of people paying $50 or less per month increased by 6.3 percentage points or a 75% relative increase over 2004.
  • 62.6% of all HSA-eligible plan purchasers in the first half of 2005 pay $100 or less per month for their plans.
  • overall, monthly premiums for HSA-eligible plans have decreased by an average of 15% from 2004.
  • 2005 premiums for the 45-64 year old segment decreased most significantly of all age groups, with an average reduction of $38 per month or $456 annually, from 2004. This reflects a 17% average decrease over 2004 plan premiums.
  • Of the HSA-eligible plans purchased in 2005, nearly 80% have prescription drug benefits and half pay 100% of the coverage after the deductible is met.
  • Among HSA-eligible plans purchased in the first half of 2005, 78.5% cover hospitalization and lab/X-ray services at full cost once the plan’s annual deductible is met.

The report is based on data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust’s Employer Health Benefits 2004 annual survey. The latest survey covers the first half of 2005 in comparison to a year earlier.

The full report is here .