Average HSA account balances increase for first time since 2008

According to a new Health Savings Account market report by healthcare banking vendor Canopy Financial, average individual and family HSA account balances increased for the first time since the second quarter of 2008.

Canopy aggregates a wide range of statistics related to actual HSA use, which is published quarterly. The company's 2009 first quarter report revealed that while individual Health Investment Account (HIA) balances continued to decline 2 percent in the first quarter of 2009, family HIA balances grew for the first time since the second quarter of 2008.

"In the first quarter of 2009, consumers resumed the trend of utilizing tax-advantaged consumer-directed healthcare related spending and investment accounts as vehicles for savings and investment towards long-term medical expenditures and retirement," said Vik Kashyap, Canopy's CEO. "Not only did employer contributions into individual and family HSAs nearly double quarter-over-quarter, but also employee contributions increased into both individual and family HSAs."

Additional findings showed:

* Individual and family HIA accountholders age 51 and over continued to hold the highest average account values;
* Families aged 25-40 and those aged 41-50 realized the greatest amount of growth in HIA account balances quarter-over-quarter at 14 percent growth and 3 percent, respectively;
* The majority of spending in the first quarter continued to derive from reimbursements, followed by bill payments and then check payments.