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Enrollment in Health Savings Accounts nearly doubles in three years Posted: June 15th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

As families and businesses look for ways to cut health care costs, the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSA) continues to see robust growth. A census completed by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an industry group, finds that enrollment in HSAs has grown 14 percent in the past year.

HSAs were initially authorized by the government in 2004. When combined with a high-deductible health insurance plan, HSAs allow individuals to pay for approved health care costs tax-free. As health insurance premiums continue to rise, consumer-driven health plans offer an alternative with reduced rates.

"HSA plans continue to be a vital source of affordable coverage for millions of families and employers across the country," Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of AHIP, said in a statement.

AHIP reports that membership in HSAs has climbed from 6.1 million in January 2008 to 11.4 million in January 2011. In the past year, growth has been strongest in the large group market with a 26 percent increase in enrollment. Membership in the individual market increased 15 percent from January 2010 to January 2011.

California has the largest number of HSAs with more than 1 million members enrolled. Other states with high levels of enrollment include Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Florida and Minnesota.