HSAs and Cards: Prepaid and Credit Opportunities

August 31, 2007 ??? 1:00pm EST (1 hour)
Ken Paterson, Director, Credit Advisory Service
Tim Sloane, Director, Debit Advisory Service

Significant investments are being made today to implement Prepaid HSA cards that will provide considerable benefits to cardholders and Third Party Administrators (TPAs). The most important of these is the inventory information approval system (IIAS) that will deliver auto-adjudication, greatly reducing administration costs for TPAs while eliminating the need to submit and file records by the cardholder. We will discuss the size of the HSA market today and forecasts growth through 2011. Not all Health Spending Accounts will be candidates for a Prepaid HSA card. Some HSAs are under-funded, and others have very low transactions rates because the owner perceives the HSA more as an investment account than for health spending. Both of these consumer behaviors will reduce deployment of Prepaid HSA card.

At the same time, an emerging market for consumer credit facilities is developing to bridge the gap between a subscriber???s out-of-pocket medical expense obligations under a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and any accumulated assets held in a health savings account (HSA). High deductibles are what make HDHPs economically attractive in terms of lower premiums. The funding gap is intended to be filled by assets from consumers??? HSAs, which offer a tax-advantaged savings vehicle for HDHP participants. We will discuss emerging needs for credit under these plans, and the approaches taken by early providers addressing the market need.