HSA Activity Similar Across All Income Groups

The American Health Insurance Plan (AHIP) has produced a report on the income characteristics of Health Savings Account (HSA) holders.  The study used information on one million account holders from the five largest HSA banks. Since it didn't have direct income information on these accounts, it used the average income in the census tracts where the account holders live, which is a pretty accurate gauge.

The study breaks income groupings into five categories and found:

  • 3% of account holders were in the lowest income group
  • 45% were in the next lower-middle income group
  • 34% were in the middle income group
  • 12% were in the upper-middle income group
  • 5% were in the upper income group

The report does not say what portions of the overall population fall into each group, so it is impossible to say if account holders are over- or under-represented in any of the categories. But the account activity of each group in 2008 is very interesting because the deposits and withdrawals are very much the same, even though the income levels are vastly different:

  • $784 input, $489 outgo: Lower-Income
  • $958 input, $608 outgo: Lower-Middle Income
  • $1,202 input, $742 outgo: Middle-Income
  • $1,464 input, $892 outgo: Upper-Middle Income
  • $1,766 input, $1,051 outgo: Upper-Income

So, the oft-repeated charge that HSAs are a "tax shelter for the rich" is flatly contradicted.

Comments (2)

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  1. Juan O. says:

    Unfortunately, Pete Stark and other fanatical liberals will never let these pesky facts dilute their opposition to HSAs.

    Great info, Greg. Thanks.

  2. Bruce says:

    I hope we will no longer hear about how these accounts are only good for the rich.