As more American employers turn to high-deductible health plans to reign in escalating health care expenses, many are offering health savings accounts (HSA) in an effort to help curb the costs of health care for both employers and employees.
But according to a new survey by Fidelity Investments® of Americans who hold the responsibility for making household health benefits decisions, uncertainty about the accounts’ many features is significant.
In fact, two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents said they simply do not understand how an HSA works. 1 by
“Health savings accounts provide a tremendous opportunity for American employees to take better control of their health care spending while also benefitting from the tax advantages afforded by the accounts,” said William Applegate, vice president, Fidelity Investments.
“The special tax advantages of these accounts allow employees to accumulate funds over their working life and withdraw funds tax-free for qualified medical expenses in retirement. With many Americans uncertain of the savings feature of the HSA, employers are in an ideal position to provide educational guidance on the many benefits of the accounts.”
Growth in HSA account openings continues at a brisk pace. At the end of 2012, 8.2 million Americans in HSA-eligible health plans opened HSAs, a number that is expected to rise 73 percent to 14.2 million by the end of 20152. However, many eligible employees may be missing out on the short- and long-term savings opportunities of HSAs due to a lack of awareness on their benefits. With annual enrollment in workplace benefits approaching in the early fall, the time to educate employees who are Fidelity Survey Finds Uncertainty about the Benefits of HSAs/Page 2