Filed Under:Health Insurance, Individual Health

HSA vs. HRA: Which is more popular?

Small-business owner, Michael St. Germain, president of Concord Camera, at his store in Concord, N.H. (AP/Jim Cole)
Small-business owner, Michael St. Germain, president of Concord Camera, at his store in Concord, N.H. (AP/Jim Cole)

In the popularity contest between health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts, there’s a clear winner.

Small- to mid-size employers and employees are shifting their attention from HRAs to HSAs, according to a new survey from United Benefit Advisors.

In 2013, the number of employers offering HSAs increased from 14.7 percent to 15.1 percent, and employee participation in these plans rose from 7.1 percent to 8.8 percent. Meanwhile, 8.6 percent of employers offered HRAs in 2013, and employee participation in these plans dropped from 8.8 percent in 2012 to 8.6 percent in 2013.

It’s the latest measure of the growth of HSAs. Last week, America’s Health Insurance Plans said that health plans that include health savings accounts continue to rise in popularity — experiencing double-digit growth over last year.

UBA cited HSAs’ ability to drive consumer behavior and cost containment — as well as remaining in compliance with the maximum allowable out of pocket costs under PPACA — as reasons for its growth.

It helps that PPACA legislation was amended to allow metal tier plans to have higher deductibles, UBA said.

“I think carriers will be more creative with their plan designs next year, and we may see a comeback of higher deductible and HSA qualified plans,” said Elizabeth Kay, compliance and retention analyst for AEIS, a UBA partner firm.

The UBA survey found that, on average, funding levels for plans with HSAs have remained constant for individuals at approximately $574 for both 2012 and 2013, while average funding for families increased from $928 in 2012 to $958 in 2013. Funding levels of plans with HRAs increased significantly for individuals from $1,605 in 2012 to $1,766 in 2013, and for families from $3,075 in 2012 to $3,506 in 2013.

“Under PPACA it seems unlikely that small employers will be able to use HRA contributions to get deductibles to the $2,000/$4,000 level,” says Rob Calise, UBA board chairman. “As a result, there will likely be a dramatic shift in funding strategies in the near future.”

Originally published on BenefitsPro. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Featured Video

Most Recent Videos

Behind the scenes with Vicki Gunvalson [VIDEO]


In this exclusive interview, Vicki Gunvalson shares how she built a $15 million a year annuity business by planning for...

Regulator: Market may need to reinvent LTCI


Cioppa says Maine's governor wants to spur the creation of better products.

Dementia: It's more than Alzheimer's


An association calls for policymakers to remember lesser-known neurodegenerative conditions.

Protesters Disrupt WellPoint Annual Meeting


Hecklers call for more disclosures of information about political contributions.

Related resources

More Resources


Power your business with up-to-the-minute insurance news, analysis, and best practices from LifeHealthPro Daily eNewsletter – FREE.

Power your business with LifeHealthPro Daily eNewsletter – FREE.

Enter a valid email address.
Nichole Morford

Nichole Morford
Managing Editor

Thank you for subscribing to LifeHealthPro Daily!

Check Out More eNewsletters Now! Close

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.