Learn the 3 Stages of HSA Participation That Will Help You Help Employees

April 23, 2019

Your employees can save. They can invest. They can prepare for retirement. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) can fill the needs of any employee, which is why the number of accounts has more than tripled in the last six years.

Effectively communicating the benefits of these plans within each stage of HSA participation is important, since the more your employees contribute to their accounts, the more you both save. That’s why we’re explaining the three primary stages of participation (spenders, savers and investors), so you can better understand how to reach your employees and help them get more out of their accounts. And complete the form below to get your free resources for more stats on participation and to learn how innovation has transformed the experience.


According to Devenir, nearly two-thirds (63%) of participants have less than $1,000 in their account. This group, which we define as HSA spenders, takes full advantage of the ability to contribute tax-free funds to their accounts and to spend funds tax-free when purchasing eligible expenses. Many spenders are trying to build up their balances, but they may be new to their account.

Make sure this group knows they can easily determine the eligibility of their purchases by using the eligible expense scanner in the Benefits Mobile App by Discovery Benefits. And you can provide educational tools and resources to help them when they’re just getting started. Have them check out our Employee Resource Center for informational videos and tools, and Discovery Answers™ within their online account for how-to videos and helpful articles. Additionally, our blog provides tips, including this post which shows participants how they can move from the spender to saver stage.  

HSA Spenders Graphic


About one-quarter (26%) of participants have between $1,000 and $4,999 in their HSAs, which we classify as being savers. These participants recognize that their accounts aren’t subject to the IRS’ use-or-lose rule, so they know they can carry over all of their funds from one plan year to the next. They often pay for eligible expenses out-of-pocket, which helps them steadily grow their balances.

Saving is always easier with a goal in mind. Encourage employees in this stage to set savings and retirement goals by directing them to our HSA goal and savings calculators and the Guidance Tool within their online account. And make sure to educate them on how to grow their funds and move to the next stage of participation their by investing. This video will show them how easy it is to invest, and the HSA section of our blog has a number of posts to help guide the first-time investor.

HSA Savers Graphic 


An HSA is a premier investment tool in terms of retirement-planning capability. Invested funds grow tax-free within your employees’ accounts, and they can be withdrawn at any time to purchase eligible expenses. And, once the participant turns 65, they can spend their funds on any purchases without facing a tax penalty (although purchases on ineligible expenses will be subject to income tax). We consider participants with at least $5,000 in their accounts to be HSA investors. 

Our participants’ online accounts have a number of tools and features to help your employees learn more about their investments and, if needed, adjust their strategy. We’ve outlined many of those tools and features in this blog post. We also have a number of investment-related articles available in Discovery Answers™ within their online accounts.

HSA Investors Graphic

Would you like to learn more? Complete the form above to download your free resources.

(Please note: Discovery Benefits cannot provide investment advice and encourages its participants to seek guidance from a financial adviser for help with investment decisions.)

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