Skip to main content
main content, press tab to continue

The 5 stages of health savings account ownership

October 11, 2023

Employees don’t always know how they can best leverage health savings accounts (HSAs) to maximize their health, wealth and financial security. Employers can help them get there.
Benefits Administration and Outsourcing Solutions|Retirement
The 5 stages of health savings account ownership

The 5 stages of health savings account ownership

Employees’ personal and medical needs change as they journey through their careers — an HSA is a powerful tool to support them through whatever the years bring. By using data-driven, targeted communications, employers can help their workers strategize the right level of contribution, spending and investing at the right time in their career to benefit from the many tax advantages of an HSA and get the most out of their account.

Follow along as we journey through the career life cycle and five stages of HSA ownership.

Life stage: College grad

  • First job and new to high-deductible health plans with HSAs
  • Doesn't understand the benefits and contributes less than the deductible


  • Loss of immediate tax savings, higher out-of-pocket spending, more stress

Employer action: Educate on value

  • Identify employees with elected goal amounts lower than deductibles
  • Target communication to explain the gap

Fast fact:

  • 58%of HSA account holders contribute <$2,000. In many cases, this will not be enough to cover the employee’s deductible.

Life stage: Early career

  • Missing out on immediate tax advantages of higher contributions
  • Unprepared for medical emergency


  • Financial risk of emergency, additional expenses end upon a credit card

Employer action: Promote increased contributions

  • Compare elected goal amounts against annual maximum contribution
  • Target communication to help plan for unexpected expenses with higher HSA contributions

Fast fact:

  • The difference between$2,000 and $3,000 in annual contributions is less than $39 per biweekly pay period. That $39 is pre-tax, meaning the impact to take-home pay is even lower.

Life stage: Mid-career

  • Contributing the maximum
  • Still using HSA for all medical expenses, large and small


  • Missing out on a critical savings tool for emergencies and retirement.

Employer action: Help employees save

  • Identify spenders
  • Target communications to explain how to bank receipts for small expenses and save for the future

Fast facts:

  • 65% of employees use their HSA for expenses large and small.
  • Just 17% of account holders contribute the HSA statutory maximum.

Life stage: Mature career

  • HSA balance has increased nicely
  • Hasn’t invested any of the balance


  • Missed opportunity to build HSA savings into a retirement asset

Employer action: Help employees invest

  • Identify accounts with large enough balance to qualify for investing
  • Target communications to explain “how to leverage HSA into a 401(k) for retirement medical expenses

Fast fact:

  • Even with over 35.5 million HSAs and $104 billion in assets, only 7% of account holders are investing.

Life stage: Ready to retire

  • Has made the right moves to build a valuable retirement asset

Employer action: Help employees plan for retirement

  • Identify where all employees are in their own unique HSA journey
  • Use data to meet employees where they are and empower them to achieve next level participation

Fast fact:

  • A couple retiring today will need about $319,000 for out-of-pocket retiree medical spending.
Title File Type File Size
The 5 stages of health savings account ownership PDF .7 MB
Contact us