WASHINGTON -- Health savings accounts seem to be on their way to living up to the media hype.
A new census released by America's Health Insurance Plans has found that some 4.5 million Americans are now covered by lower-premium, high-deductible health insurance plans that are offered in conjunction with HSAs--a 43% increase since last year.
The census also found that more than one-fourth of those purchasing HSA plans in the individual market were previously uninsured and that almost half of those enrolled in such plans were over the age of 40. In addition, slightly over one million were enrolled in the small- group market and two million in the large group market.
This is the first AHIP census that compiled information about the savings accounts that work in conjunction with HSA plans. Some 88% of accounts in place in 2006 had average annual balances of $2,500 or less, while 4% had average annual balances over $5,000. As of January 2007, 65% of accounts had been in place for less than one year.
The census also reveals that HSA plans provide value-added services. Often companies offering HSA plans cover preventive care before the deductible is met, provide disease management programs for chronic conditions, and include a wide array of Web-based tools to help consumers make more informed decisions.
Here is a look at other findings from the AHIP census: