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Health savings accounts, consumer-driven plans growing

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Enrollment in health savings accounts continues to grow as more employers are moving to consumer-driven health care plans, Fidelity Investments said Tuesday.

Fidelity said the number of HSAs it administered in 2014 jumped to 367,000, up more than 36% compared with 269,000 in 2013.

In addition, the number of Fidelity clients offering HSAs to employees rose to 137 in 2014, up from 102 the prior year.

“Clients are asking us to help employees save for rising health care costs today and in retirement, and an HSA can go a long way toward meeting that goal,” Eric Dowley, a Fidelity senior vice president in Boston said in a statement.

Numerous surveys have found that high-deductible consumer-driven health care plans linked to HSAs are less costly for employers compared with other health care plans.

For example, a survey last year by Mercer L.L.C. found that the cost of coverage in CDHPs with HSAs was nearly 18% lower, on average, than the cost of preferred provider organization coverage — $8,789 per employee compared with $10,664 per employee for PPO coverage.

That cost difference will become even more important starting in 2018, when a health care reform law provision that imposes a 40% excise tax on health care plan costs exceeding $10,200 for single coverage and $27,500 for family coverage kicks in.