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HSAs saw dramatic growth in 2010, study finds

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS — Health savings accounts surpassed $10 billion at year-end 2010, according to a survey and the resulting research report conducted by Devenir, an investment firm that specializes in providing investment options for HSAs.

The survey data was collected in January 2011 and primarily consisted of top 30 custodians in the health savings account market. All data was requested for the calendar 2010 year ended Dec. 31. “The survey was conducted in order to help shed light on the rapidly growing and evolving health savings account market,” stated Eric Remjeske Devenir president.

Key findings from the Devenir 2010 survey and research report included:

  • HSAs continue to see dramatic growth as the total number of HSA accounts rose to 6.2 million with assets totaling almost $10.1 billion, a year-over-year increase of 27% for accounts and a 41% increase in assets;

  • The average account balance grew almost 11% in 2010 to $1,627; and,

  • HSA investment assets reached an estimated $725 million in 2010 (102% year-over-year increase), and are projected to reach $10.3 billion by the end of 2015.

Devenir conservatively projected the HSA market to reach $61 billion in assets by the end of 2015, a 43% compound annual growth rate over the next five years. Devenir also projected that HSA investment dollars will continue to grow quickly as health savings account user’s balances become larger, representing 17% of all HSA assets by the end of 2015.

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King Kullen implements NuVal nutrition scoring system

BY Allison Cerra

BETHPAGE, N.Y. — New York-based supermarket retailer King Kullen announced that it is partnering with NuVal to provide customers with better insight of what foods they should be eating.

NuVal’s nutrition scoring system — in which store items receive a NuVal score from 1 to 100, making it easy for consumers to compare the overall nutrition of the foods they buy at a glance — will be implemented in all of King Kullen’s stores, which are located throughout Long Island and Staten Island.

King Kullen co-president J. Donald Kennedy said, “Through this partnership, NuVal and King Kullen will help customers learn how to live better, more nutritious lifestyles. By putting NuVal scores on our shelves, we’re giving our shoppers the ability to instantly find and ‘trade up’ to more nutritious items within each food category."

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To your health: Light to moderate drinking may lower heart disease risk, researchers find

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The Spaniards drink Rioja wine with a hearty “Salud!,” while the Irish knock back Jameson whiskey and Guinness beer with “Slainte.” Nobody can say who coined the two calls to imbibe, both of which mean “health,” but according to two recent studies, it looks as though they were on to something.

The studies, led by University of Calgary researchers Paul Ronksley and Susan Brien and published in the journal BMJ, found that people who drink moderately are 14% to 25% less likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t drink at all.

One study found that light to moderate drinking was associated with lower risks of such heart diseases as coronary heart disease and stroke, while another study found that moderate drinking increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol while lowering levels of fibrinogen, though it didn’t change levels of triglycerides.

Heavy drinking, of course, still is unhealthy, and the authors said a balance needed to be found in public messaging that emphasized the potential harm caused by consuming large amounts of alcohol. It appears, however, that a drink after work or on the weekends might be all right for what ails you.

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