Machine Learning HSA Personas Reveal Industry's Over-Generalization of Consumer Needs

Lively releases a new report showing that HSAs need more personalized offerings to help account holders save for the long-term

Lively 2020 HSA Persona Report (Graphic: Business Wire)

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Lively, Inc., creators of the modern Health Savings Account (HSA), today released its first HSA Persona Report, giving a view into how consumers are using their HSA funds. Findings show that the industry’s perception of the average HSA holder is vastly misunderstood, as a majority of people who use HSAs have just $1,050 in assets and are primarily motivated to save in case of unexpected healthcare costs. This indicates that account holders do not utilize an HSA for its long-term benefits and may need more offerings and education to start saving.

“HSAs are an incredible option because of their triple tax advantage: You put money in tax-free, earn interest or potential investment growth tax-free, and can withdraw money tax-free for qualified medical expenses,” said Alex Cryricac, CEO and Co-Founder of Lively. “But to maximize those advantages and give people the tools they need to plan for things like healthcare costs in retirement, we need to understand how account holders are using their HSAs, right now and throughout their lifetime.”

Key findings of the HSA Persona Report show:

  • 56% of account holders have less than $1,050 in assets in their HSA. The average family spends $8,020 on healthcare expenses each year. HSAs help, but even HSA account holders need more help.
  • Healthcare costs are a serious concern and drive direct financial decisions. The majority of HSA account holders are keeping their funds ready for the possibility of unexpected healthcare costs.
  • Only 2.4% of account holders had an average balance of $32,000 in assets. These account holders are typically the oldest (59) and have the highest household income (HHI) of all personas.
  • The ability to invest is seen as a feature only for high asset accounts. Investment offering impacts both savings and investing. Even lower asset accounts want to invest but have been deterred by HSA investment options and traditional HSA providers' fees.
  • That said, household HHI is not directly correlated to HSA assets. This runs counter to the 401(k) industry. The age of an HSA is more impactful when it comes to HSA account balance. The older the account (and account holder), the higher the account balance. Account-holders need to start as early as possible to set themselves up for financial success.

“Americans continue to grapple with a pandemic, unemployment, and the worry caused by both. During this uncertain time, Lively wants to ensure that saving and investing is accessible to all of our account holders,” said Shobin Uralil, COO and Co-Founder of Lively. “Lively’s HSA Persona Report gives us a comprehensive picture of how account holders are using their HSAs and disrupts long-held antiquated industry practices. With this approach, Lively can offer the most personalized HSA experience in the market.”


Lively compiled 13 account traits from 40,000 randomly selected Health Savings Accounts (HSA) for this study, including accounts with and without active contributions. With this information, Lively’s data science team used a machine learning k-means user clustering approach (vector quantization) to organize and delineate the optimal number of HSA personas based on our entire data set of anonymous HSA account holders.

About Lively

Lively is the modern healthcare spending experience built for—and by—those seeking stability in the ever-shifting landscape. By harnessing modern innovation and deep industry expertise, Lively is committed to bridging today’s savings with tomorrow’s unknowns. Unlike traditional institutions hindered by bureaucracy, Lively’s commitment extends beyond the initial set-up. It provides dedicated, ongoing support and education during every step so that each account can reach its maximum potential with minimal headache. Lively is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter (@LivelyHSA).


Jennifer Parson



Jennifer Parson