HSA Headlines - 6/22/18 - HSA assets on the rise - but common issues remain

As U.S. companies continue to shift toward high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to save their businesses and employees money on healthcare costs, more working professionals have the option to utilize a health savings account (HSA) than ever before.

According to new sales numbers from Fidelity Investments, one of the country's largest HSA providers, a major surge in HSA enrollment took place in 2017. But traditional problems facing tax-exempt healthcare accounts still linger.

In this week's edition of HSA Headlines, we'll take a closer look at the current state of the HSA market and how it could stand to improve in the coming year.

Fidelity HSA Assets Grow to $3 Billion - Lee Barney, PlanAdviser

HSAs were a runaway success story in 2017. Fidelity saw a 50% increase in total HSA assets from 2016 to 2017, and saw its HSA account holder population grow to 837,800, while adding 117 new employers to its network.

Fidelity's "Building Healthy Futures" report offered interesting statistics that help set HSA users apart from most healthcare consumers. The report found that people who save in both an HSA and traditional savings plans like 401(k)s save an average of 10% more of their paychecks, compared with a savings rate of 7.7% for those who save only in a traditional plan. Additionally, HSA users, on average, hold $119,000 more in retirement savings than those without one.

More employers adopt HSAs, but questions remain - Paula Aven Gladych, Employee Benefit News

As encouraging as Fidelity's findings are for the HSA market, Employee Benefit News turned the spotlight on some ongoing issues affecting HSA enrollment -- most notably, a lack of consumer education. Fidelity found that nearly 40% of people are unaware that money in an HSA rolls over from year to year. Instead, they think that HSAs are subject to the same rules as flexible spending accounts (FSAs), in which any unspent funds are forfeited to their employers each year.

Arguably worse is that 46% of HSA holders are unaware their funds can be invested, and only 7.7% are taking advantage of this benefit. And, just 1 in 4 of those with an HDHP elect to open an HSA.

So what's the answer for employers? HSAs have a learning curve, but like any activity, employees will get more comfortable by engagement, and through actionable info at their disposal (like at this Learning Center we love).

HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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