Originally posted June 19, 2014 by Dan Cook on www.benefitspro.com.  benefits-lg

Women, on average, don’t have as much money in their health savings accounts than do men. This nugget is among the findings of an Employee Benefit Research Institute study, which was conducted on the 10th anniversary of the creation of HSAs.

At the end of 2013, men had an average of $2,326 in their account, while women had $1,526, EBRI said.

While the male-vs.-female gap went unexplained by the researchers, that output was perhaps the most surprising to come from the study. Other findings were more or less in line with expectations about those who choose HSAs to pay for their health care.

EBRI reported that older individuals have considerably more money in their accounts that do younger HSA users: Those under 25 had an average of $697, while those ages 55-64 $3,780 those 65 or older had an average account balance of $4,460.

Younger ones used a small percent of their account balances for health-related expenditures, and they also tended to take fewer distributions from their accounts that did older individuals. Yet at a certain age, the likelihood of a distribution fell significantly.

“The likelihood of taking a distribution increased from 44 percent among individuals under age 25, to 66 percent among those ages 35–44 and 45–54,” EBRI said in a release. “That likelihood dipped slightly (to 64 percent) among those ages 55–64 and still further (to 49 percent) among those ages 65 and older.”

“The decline in the average amount distributed, as well as the likelihood of there being a distribution for health care claims at older ages, may have been a reflection of fewer people covered by the HSA-eligible health plan as fewer dependent children are covered by older account owners,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s health research and education program, and author of the report.

Other findings:

  • The average HSA balance at the end of 2013 was $1,766, up from $1,280 at the beginning of the year;
  • On average, individuals who made contributions deposited $2,032 to their account. HSAs receiving employer contributions received $1,184, on average;
  • Four-fifths of HSAs with a contribution also had a distribution for a health care claim during 2013;
  • Looking at HSAs with claims, the average amount distributed for health care claims in 2013 was $1,953.

Input for the study came from data collected from HSA providers with total assets of $2.7 billion as of Dec. 31, 2013. This represents 14 percent of the universe of HSAs and 14 percent of HSA assets, EBRI said.