Alert May 06, 2008

GAO Releases Health Savings Account Report

The GAO published a report on health savings accounts. The report examines participation in HSA-eligible high-deductible health plans and HSAs, the income characteristics of HSA account holders, and contributions made to, and withdrawals made from, HSAs. The number of individuals covered by HSA-eligible plans increased significantly from about 438,000 in September of 2004 to approximately 4.5 million in January 2007. Despite the growth, these plans represented a small share of individuals with private health coverage—about 2% in 2006. The number of tax filers reporting HSA activity also increased, nearly tripling between 2004 and 2005, from about 120,000 to about 355,000. Industry estimates suggest continued growth in HSA participation in 2006 and 2007. The total value of all HSA contributions reported to the IRS in 2005 was about twice that of withdrawals—$754 million compared with $366 million. Among all filers reporting HSA activity in 2005, average contributions were about $2,100, compared to average withdrawals of about $1,000. Click here for a summary of the report and here for the full report.