Health accounts remain popular despite health law's restrictions

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The institute said growing contributions to HSAs and health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) might be a result of the economy gaining steam.

HSAs are tax-preferred accounts specifically for healthcare expenses. 

Republicans see them as integral to a "consumer-oriented" approach to healthcare, but the Affordable Care Act includes some new restrictions on HSAs. The accounts can no longer be used to buy over-the-counter drugs unless a doctor writes a prescription.

Nevertheless, the number of people who use HSAs and HRAs continues to climb, as do their contributions to the accounts, according to Wednesday's data.

Seventy percent of workers with an HSA or HRA said their employer contributed to their accounts, and the percentage of employers making contributions of more than $1,000 rose from 14 percent to 22 percent.