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Marvel-ous! The HSA: A Retirement Superhero in Disguise

By Jack Towarnicky

Better tax preferences compared to a 401(k)! Greater longevity protection than in a Roth IRA! Able to provide retirement income, cover acute care medical expenses and long term care in a single account! Up at your employer, look! It’s a medical plan! It’s a retirement savings plan! It’s a legacy plan! It’s an HSA!

Join Karen Rettger, president of Principal Resource Group, Mercedes Ikard, director of retirement planning at Atrium Health, Kenneth Forsythe, head of product strategy and development at Empower Retirement and Glen Kvadus, vice president at Optum Financial Services for trends in HSA product offerings, techniques, and lessons learned in positioning HSAs as long-term savings accounts and why health care integration shouldn’t be abandoned in the quest to fully deploy HSAs as the superheroes they are destined to be.

America has a coverage gap – and it isn’t retirement savings plans.1 Today, only 22 percent of surveyed employers offer an HSA-capable health option and only 19 percent of employees are enrolled in an HSA-capable health option. However, the percent of workers who do have access continues to increase; throughout the past 13 years, we have seen a 20 percent average annual increase in the number of employers who offer an HSA-capable health plan.

Today, there are approximately 25 million HSA accounts with approximately $54 billion in assets.2

To some extent, the growth in HSAs is a repetition of the history of the 401(k) plan – steady, if not spectacular.3

As employers increasingly look to the HSA as a retiree medical savings plan, my 2004 prediction may yet come true: “25 years ago (1979), no one had ever heard of 401(k), 25 years from now (2029), everyone will have an HSA.)4

You, too, can be a superhero for your enterprise and your employees. Add an HSA-capable health plan. Why wait any longer?

1Kaiser Family Foundation, Employer Health Benefits, 2018 Annual Report, Accessed 4/13/19 at: Devenir, 2018 Year-End
2Devenir HSA Research Report, 2/27/19, Accessed 4/13/19 at:
3Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Private Pension Plan Bulletin Historical Tables and Graphs, 1975-2016, Form 5500 Reports, December 2018, Accessed 4/13/19 at:
4J. Towarnicky, The HSAs In Your Future, Defined Contribution Retiree Medical Coverage, Benefits Quarterly, 4th Quarter 2016, Accessed 4/13/19 at:

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