Financial firms could soon see a huge influx of money as consumers forced to buy health insurance by the new health care reform bill opt for high-deductible plans with health savings accounts. Americans have roughly $8.6 billion in assets parked in HSAs, but industry experts tell Reuters that could shoot to $50 or even $100 billion in the coming years. Some are predicting they’ll become the same boon for the industry that retirement accounts have been.
Thanks to a 2003 law, consumers who have low-premium plans with individual annual deductibles of at least $1,200 can deposit earnings, tax-free, into an HSA account to pay for medical expenses. They’re supposed to appeal to low-income workers who can’t afford high premiums, but those customers often can’t afford to put money in their HSA accounts either. The wealthy, by contrast, have been pouring money into the funds, seeing them as another 401k-esque tax break.