March 28, 2013

OUR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT:

Health Savings Accounts Will Survive ObamaCare -- At Least For Now (Merrill Matthews, 3/28/13, Forbes)

It appears that Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) will slip under the Affordable Care Act's threshold for qualified coverage--although just barely.  And given the fact that HSAs, and similar high deductible health insurance options, are about the only type of health coverage bending down the health care cost curve, they may even thrive. [...]

This is great news for two related reasons.  First, employers have been increasingly shifting to HSAs.  A recent Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health survey found that 66 percent of large companies (1,000 employees or more) offered employees at least one account-based plan option this year, and that number is expected to grow to 80 percent next year.

However, 15 percent of those companies offer only an account-based plan.  Many smaller companies that provide coverage have also been shifting to HSA-type coverage.

The second reason is that HSA plans slow the growth in health care spending.  For example, a 2012 study from the Rand Corporation, a policy research institute, found that families with consumer-directed health coverage, like HSA plans, spent an average of 21 percent less the first year after switching from traditional coverage.  And that if half of those with employer-sponsored coverage were in such plans, health care costs would fall by $57 billion.

That's because HSAs encourage people to be value-conscious shoppers in the health care marketplace, just like they are in every other sector of the economy.

Now use the mandate and make them universal.

Posted by at March 28, 2013 8:48 PM
  

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