Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements: Assets, Account Balances, and Rollovers, 2006–2010

January 2011
EBRI Issue Brief #353
Paperback, 28 pp.
PDF, 594 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2011

Download Issue Brief PDF pdf

Executive Summary

ASSET LEVELS GROWING: In 2010, there was $7.7 billion in health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), spread across 5.7 million accounts. This is up from 2006, when there were 1.2 million accounts with $835.4 million in assets, and 2009, when 5 million accounts held $7.1 billion in assets.

AFTER LEVELING OFF, AVERAGE ACCOUNT BALANCE DROPS SLIGHTLY: Increases in average account balances leveled off in 2008 and 2009, and fell slightly in 2010. In 2006, account balances averaged $696. They increased to $1,320 in 2007, a 90 percent increase. Account balances averaged $1,356 in 2008 and $1,419 in 2009, 3 percent and 5 percent increases, respectively. In 2010, average account balances fell to $1,355, down 4.5 percent from the previous year.

AVERAGE ROLLOVER DECLINES, WHILE TOTAL ROLLOVERS INCREASE: Despite a decline in the average rollover amount in 2010, total assets being rolled over have been increasing. $4.2 billion was rolled over in 2010, up from $4 billion in 2009. The average rollover increased from $592 in 2006 to $1,295 in 2009, and fell to $1,029 in 2010. The percentage of individuals without a rollover decreased from 23 percent in 2006 to 10 per-cent in 2009 and increased slightly to 13 percent in 2010.

HEALTHY BEHAVIOR MEANS HIGHER ACCOUNT BALANCES AND HIGHER ROLLOVERS: Individuals who exercised, those who did not smoke, and those who were not obese had higher account balances and higher rollovers than those with less healthy behaviors. It was also found that individuals who used cost or quality information had higher account balances and higher rollovers compared with those who did not use such information. However, no relationship was found between either account balance or rollover amounts and various cost-conscious behaviors such as checking pricing before getting services or asking for generic drugs instead of brand names, among other things.

DIFFERENCES IN ACCOUNT BALANCES: Men have higher account balances than women, older individuals have higher account balances than younger ones, account balances increase with household income, and education has a significant impact on account balances independent of income and other variables.

DIFFERENCES IN ROLLOVER AMOUNTS: Men rolled over more money than women, and older individuals had higher rollover amounts than younger individuals. Rollover amounts increase with household income and education, and individuals with single coverage rolled over a higher amount than those with family coverage.