April 10, 2007


A lifesaver for the self-employed (Travis E. Poling, 4/09/07, Express-News)

Music-store owner Scott Hillje was concerned for his 11-year-old son last year when he fell at the school playground and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Unlike many self-employed people, Hillje wasn't worrying about how he was going to pay the medical bills.

Every month, $500 is automatically deducted from Hillje's account to go to HSA Bank. From that account, he pays a premium for a family health plan with a high deductible, while the remainder awaits spending on medical needs and grows from year to year if there is anything left at the end of the year.

While Americans and the medical community have been a little slow to take up the idea of a health savings account, or HSA, as a way to control medical costs, flexibility and tax-friendly changes to how HSAs work are getting people's attention.

More Workers Enrolled in HSA-Eligible Health Plans (Business & Legal Reports, 4/10/07)
The number of Americans covered by high-deductible health plans that are offered in conjunction with health savings accounts (HSAs) rose 43 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to a report by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an industry group.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 10, 2007 7:07 PM
"...from that account, he pays a premium for a family health plan with a high deductible,...."
Unfortunately, even Mr. Poling is confused by this common misconception. Premiums for the HDHP shouldn't come out of the HSA account since they're not considered an "eligible expense.". However, since he's self-employed, Mr. Hillje's health insurance premiums should be 100% deductible as a biz expense. Of course, he should consult his tax professional, as should anyone reading this lame but obligatory disclaimer. Posted by: JR at April 10, 2007 8:09 PM

The study found that 4.5 million Americans are enrolled in an HSA-eligible high deductible health plan in 2007.

Under 2% of the population. Not much of a dent yet. Still, it's a Good Thing™ and can only grow.

Posted by: Gideon at April 10, 2007 8:28 PM

I will grow. My large Fortune 500 (previous) employer has a very good health plan, and still they switched to an HSA this year. Unfortunately after I retired, so I couldn't get in on it. They spiced the cake by donating about $600 to (only) people who signed up right away.

Posted by: ray at April 10, 2007 9:09 PM

It would seem the bottom line of the linked story was the ambulance service.
Here in Amador County, CA (ranked the nation's # 1 rural county to live in)the American Legion will provide unlimited ambulance service for $50 a year.
That said, HSA's are the saviour of healthcare in the 21st Century.

Posted by: Mike at April 10, 2007 9:46 PM