The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) maintains a wealth of data collected from various health savings account (HSA) providers. The EBRI HSA Database contains 2.9 million accounts with total assets of $5 billion as of Dec. 31, 2014. This Issue Brief is the second annual report drawing on cross-sectional data from the EBRI HSA Database. It examines account balances, individual and employer contributions, annual distributions, investment accounts and account-owner demographics for 2014.
Enrollment in HSA-eligible health plans is estimated to be about 17 million policyholders and their dependents, and it has also been estimated that there are 13.8 million accounts holding $24.2 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2014. Almost 4 in 5 HSAs have been opened since the beginning of 2011.
The average HSA balance at the end of 2014 was $1,933, up from $1,408 at the beginning of the year. Average account balances increased with the age of the owner of the account. Account balances averaged $655 for owners under age 25 and $5,016 for owners ages 65 and older.
About 6 percent of HSAs had an associated investment account. End-of-year 2014 balance averages were higher in accounts with investment assets. Thirty-seven percent of HSAs with investment assets ended 2014 with a balance of $10,000 or more, whereas only 4 percent of HSAs without investment assets had such a balance.
Among HSAs with investment assets, accounts opened in 2014 ended the year with an average balance of $6,544; whereas those opened in 2005 had an average balance of $19,269 at the end of 2014. • HSAs with either individual or employer contributions accounted for 70 percent of all accounts and 86 percent of the assets in 2014. Four percent of these accounts ended the year with a zero balance.
On a yearly average, individuals who made contributions deposited $2,096 to their account. HSAs receiving employer contributions received $1,021 a year, on average.
Four-fifths of HSAs with a contribution also had a distribution for a health care claim during 2014. Among HSAs with claims, the average amount distributed for health care claims was $1,951.
Distributions for health care claims increased with age, with the exception of those ages 65 and older. Average annual distributions were $636 for account owners under age 25; $2,373 for account owners ages 55–64; and $2,124 for account owners ages 65 and older. Average annual distributions were higher for accounts that were older. However, the likelihood of taking a distribution for health care claims was higher among accounts opened more recently.