HSAs in a Five-Year Healthcare Study


A recent survey looked at a major employer in the United States that used a health plan featuring a high deductible with a health savings account for all workers, and the survey analyzed this employer’s data over the span of five years. The study showed one of the longest periods of observation with a full-replacement CDHP. It was a rare study in its category due to its matched control group.

During the initial year that employees used the HSA plans, their employer’s aggregated spending for health care was lessened by more than $525 per worker. The study shows that there was a significant reduction in spending during the first year of the HSA plan, and this included pharmacy, total claims categories and medical. In addition to this, the impact of the cost savings was higher during the initial year but still remained steady at a slightly lower pace over the following three years.

Total spending was reduced by about 25 percent during the first year for the full-replacement HSA plan. There was a significant reduction during the first year of the plan for each category of health spending. However, the one exception to this rule was spending on hospital stays classified as inpatient care. Spending for laboratory services and for prescription drugs were the two categories with the largest declines. Laboratory services spending decreased by more than 35 percent, and prescription drug spending decreased by more than 30 percent.

When experts looked closely at each component of the spending study separately, they realized that laboratory spending and pharmacy were the two categories that were lower over the span of four years after the adoption of the HSA plan. During the first year of the HSA plan, individuals’ spending reductions for pharmacy items were between 40 percent and 47 percent. This applied to everyone who was not in the highest quintile of spending. The quintile for pre-HSA health spending was examined, and the biggest effects during the first year were seen during quintile three and quintile four. During the first year, the biggest pre-HSA quintile saw reductions that were not sustained. When the fourth year arrived, pharmacy spending was reduced in the HSA plan. However, the third quintile still experienced reduced spending in comparison with the year prior to the adoption of the HSA plan. For answers to any questions or to learn more about how these health savings plans work, call ACBI at 203-259-7580 or visit our websiteby clicking here.


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