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Guardian Survey Reveals Widespread Lack of Understanding of Health Savings Accounts
Date:6/3/2009

National Study by Guardian Life Insurance Identifies Key Motivators for Participation

NEW YORK, June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), a leading provider of employee benefits for small and mid-sized companies, today announced the results of a comprehensive survey on consumers' attitudes and beliefs regarding healthcare coverage, including health savings accounts (HSAs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs).

The Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Consumer-Driven Health Plans survey (the survey) revealed that there is still widespread uncertainty about healthcare coverage options. Six years after HSAs were introduced as part of the solution to reducing healthcare costs, only 59% of consumers know about them and more than half of those who are aware do not understand key features of HSAs.

"Because these plans offer compelling benefits for both employers and their employees, we wanted to uncover the obstacles to increasing participation, identify key motivators and develop Guardian resources to expand ownership of HSAs," explained Tim Bireley, Vice President of Group Medical.

More Education Needed on Health Savings Accounts' Benefits

Ownership of HSAs is relatively low with only one in seven owning an HSA, based on the survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for Guardian in December of 2008. Even with awareness, 52% of survey participants did not know that HSA contributions are not subject to tax and 55% think they must pay taxes on withdrawals even when they are used for qualified medical expenses. Portability is another area of confusion with 60% unaware that they take the HSA with them should they change jobs.

Understanding consumer attitudes towards HDHPs and HSAs helps benefit advisors address employers' needs and ensures that their employees understand their heal
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SOURCE The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
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