April 12, 2014


One way to pay for health-care costs in retirement (TOM TORRE, April 9, 2014, Washington Post)

HSAs are individual accounts, owned by the consumer, just like personal checking and savings accounts.  As such, they are portable - the account and the contributions in it remain the property of the account holder, even if he or she changes jobs or   enrolls in a different health insurance plan.  Consumers can continue to contribute up to the allowable IRS limit, as long as they are enrolled in qualifying high deductible health plans. The funds roll over from year to year with no expiration.

Best of all, HSA contributions are triple-tax-advantaged.  Contributions are tax free. Once HSA account balances reach a minimum threshold, funds can be invested, with interest and earnings on investments tax free.  And HSA account holders do not pay income tax on funds when they withdraw the money for qualified health-care expenses, as they do with the money in their 401Ks.

All of these features make HSAs an attractive way of managing near term health-care spending and saving for health-care costs through retirement.
Employers also benefit when their employees understand the full value of HSAs.  Employers realize an immediate tax benefit when more workers adopt HSAs and contribute to them. HSAs augment benefit programs, which are typically designed with the intent of attracting and retaining talent. Forward-thinking employers may want to offer integrated retirement planning strategies that take into account potential future health needs by offering to match contributions to HSAs, as they do for 401Ks.

HSAs are growing as more people come to understand them. According to a recent report, assets in HSAs exceeded $20 billion  as of January 2014.  Growth is stable. And HSA investment assets have now reached $2.3 billion, meaning that more than 10 percent of HSA deposits are currently invested in mutual funds or other long-term growth vehicles.  These trends are expected to continue as the popularity of HSAs grows and consumers increasingly look to HSAs as a complement to their retirement savings.

UMB grew Health Savings Accounts 40 percent last year (Greg Edwards, 4/04/14, St. Louis Business Journal)

UMB Healthcare Services, a division of UMB Financial Corp., grew Health Savings Accounts 40 percent in 2013, to 449,292 individual accounts.
Balances in the accounts grew 30 percent, surpassing $800 million, the company reported.

"We have seen tremendous growth and adoption of HSAs since their enactment 10 years ago," Dennis Triplett, CEO of UMB Healthcare Services, said in a statement. "The health care landscape continues to make these accounts attractive to not only employers, but also employees that look to economize health care spending while maintaining coverage and saving for the future."

Posted by at April 12, 2014 8:24 AM

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