Originally posted March 14, 2014 by Melissa A. Winn on http://ebn.benefitnews.com

The number of employers contributing to health savings accounts or health reimbursement arrangements continues to grow, with 71% of employees reporting contributions from their employers in 2013, according to a new report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

That number represents the highest level of employers contributing since the 2005 inception of the EBRI/ Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS).

While the study found that the number of employers contributing to HSAs and HRAs has grown, it also found the amount of their contributions for some has declined. The percentage of employees with employee-only coverage reporting employee contributions of $1,000 or more slipped from 28% to 23% in 2013.

For employees with family coverage, employer contribution levels were mostly unchanged, however.

That trend held true for employee contributions, as well. EBRI found, on average, workers with employee-only coverage dropped their HSA contribution levels last year, but those with family coverage kept contribution levels relatively steady.

These findings come from the 2008–2013 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Surveys (CEHCS), and earlier EBRI surveys, that have tracked the growth of so-called consumer-driven health plans since 2007. CDHPs consist of HSAs, health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), and high-deductible health plans designed to bring aspects of consumerism to health insurance plans.

According to the study, 11.8 million adults ages 21-64, 9.7% of the U.S. population, were enrolled in a plan with an HRA or HAS in 2013. Another 9.3 million reported they were covered by an HSA-eligible plan but had not yet opened the account. Overall, therefore, the study found about 21 million adults ages 21-64 with private insurance, representing 17.3% of that market, were either already in a CDHP or covered by an HSA-eligible plan. When their children were included, 26.1 million individuals with private insurance, representing 15% percent of the market, were either in a CDHP or an HSA-eligible plan.

The full report, “Employer and Worker Contributions to Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Health Savings Accounts, 2006–2013,” can be found online at ebri.org.