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Enrollment in health savings accounts continues to surge as more employers are moving to consumer-driven health care plans, according to Fidelity Investments.
Fidelity said Thursday that the number of HSAs it administered in 2012 jumped to 182,000, up 53% compared with 119,000 at the end of 2011 and a 146% increase over the 74,000 HSAs Fidelity administered in 2010.
The opportunity for tax advantages for plan participants, “the ability to carry over unspent funds year over year, and the financial realities companies face in rising health care costs continue to drive the strong growth in our HSA business,” William Applegate, a Fidelity Investments vice president in Boston, said in a statement.
Numerous surveys have found that the cost of high-deductible consumer-driven health care plans linked to HSAs are less costly to 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 is about 20% lower, on average, than the cost of preferred provider organization coverage — $7,833 per employee compared with $10,007.
Recent studies conducted by two of the largest U.S.-based health insurers indicate that employers sponsoring consumer-directed health plans have been substantially more successful in controlling medical costs than traditional HMO and PPO plans over the past several years.