Personal health accounts leap in 2011

The stampede toward consumer-driven health care plans continues unabated.

A national analysis reported that the number of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) in the country rose from 5.4 million in 2010 to 8.4 million in 2011. Back in 2006, there were only 1.3 million. This is stunning growth by any measure.

Correspondingly, the value of the accounts also jumped. At the end of 2011, there was $12.4 billion in the nation’s HSAs, compared to $7.3 billion the year before.

After slow-down in the value of the average account during the Great Recession, when unemployed people had to tap their HSAs, the balances are growing again. The average account held $1,470 in 2011, up 9% from the previous year.

Editorial comment: Real reform is racing ahead in the private sector, because it works, even as the pols and wonks are still trying to figure out just what is going to happen with ObamaCare.

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