EBRI Issue Brief

Health Savings Account Balances, Contributions, Distributions, and Other Vital Statistics, 2015: Estimates from the EBRI HSA Database

Nov 29, 2016 28  pages


The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) maintains data on health savings accounts (HSAs) collected from various recordkeepers. The EBRI HSA Database contains four million accounts with total assets of $7.4 billion as of Dec. 31, 2015.

This Issue Brief is the third annual report drawing on cross-sectional data from the EBRI HSA Database. It examines account balances, individual and employer contributions, distributions, invested assets and account-owner demographics in 2015.

Here are the key findings:

  • Enrollment in high-deductible, HSA-eligible health plans is estimated to be between 20-22 million policyholders and their dependents.
  • Over 4 in 5 HSAs (85 percent) have been opened since the beginning of 2011.
  • As of the end of 2015, the average HSA balance was $1,844, up from $1,332 at the beginning of the year. Average account balances increased with the age of the owner of the account. Account balances averaged $759 for owners under age 25 and $3,623 for owners ages 65 and older.
  • About 3 percent of HSAs had invested assets (beyond cash). Thirty-six percent of HSAs with invested assets ended 2015 with a balance of $10,000 or more, whereas only 4 percent of HSAs without invested assets had such a balance.
  • Among HSAs with investments, accounts opened in 2015 ended the year with an average balance of $4,907 whereas those opened in 2005 had an average balance of $27,903 at the end of 2015.
  • HSAs with either individual or employer contributions accounted for 59 percent of all accounts and 78 percent of total account balances in 2015. Three percent of these accounts ended the year with a zero balance.
  • On average, individuals who made contributions in 2015 contributed $1,864 to their account in 2015. HSAs receiving employer contributions in 2015 received $948, on average.
  • Four-fifths of HSAs with a 2015 contribution also had a distribution during 2015. Of the HSAs with distributions, the average amount distributed was $1,748.
  • Distributions increased as HSA owners’ ages increased. For example, 2015 distributions averaged $634 for HSA owners under age 25; $2,319 for owners ages 55-64; and $2,365 for owners ages 65 and older.
  • Distributions were higher for HSAs that were older. However, the likelihood of taking a distribution was higher among HSAs opened more recently, other than those opened in 2015.