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Health savings account enrollment surges 14%: AHIP


Enrollment in health savings accounts linked to high-deductible health insurance plans surged 14% to 11.4 million as of Jan. 1, according to an annual census released Tuesday.

HSA enrollment rose in the large-group and individual markets, but fell slightly in the small-group market, according to the survey by Washington-based America’s Health Insurance Plans.

The large-employer market registered the largest percentage gain over the previous year. Employers with at least 51 employees had 6.3 million people in HSA-linked plans at the start of the year, a 26% increase in the past year.

Medicare prescription drug benefit law

In the individual market, enrollment climbed to nearly 2.4 million, an increase of 15%.

However, HSA enrollment in the small-employer market dipped to 2.8 million, a drop of nearly 7%.

HSAs, authorized under a 2003 law that added a prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program, became available on Jan. 1, 2004, and enrollment has risen steadily since then. AHIP said 1 million people were enrolled in HSAs in 2005, 3.2 million in 2006, 4.5 million in 2007, 6.1 million in 2008, 8 million in 2009 and 10 million in 2010.

Highest and lowest

States with the highest percentage of HSA enrollees younger than 65 with private health insurance were:

• Minnesota, 14.9%;

• Vermont, 11.4%; and

• Colorado, 11.3%.

States with the lowest percentage were:

• Hawaii, 0.2%;

• West Virginia, 2.1%; and

• Mississippi, 2.4%.

The key factor driving HSA growth is that premiums for high-deductible health insurance plans, which the law requires be linked to HSAs, tend to be lower than more traditional health plans, according to numerous surveys.

Minimum deductible

This year, the minimum deductible for single coverage through an HSA-linked health plan is $1,200. The minimum deductible for family coverage is $2,400.

AHIP’s 2011 HSA Census, is based on 83 insurers and their subsidiaries offering HSA-linked health insurance plans.

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