NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

AN ALTERNATIVE TO EXPANDING HEALTH CARE SPENDING

January 31, 2007

One way to preserve a competitive market from the dangers of universal care, says America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), would be for the federal government to create universal health accounts (UHAs).

According to AHIP:

  • Like the increasingly popular health savings accounts (HSAs), the new UHAs would allow pre-tax deposits to be made by employers and employees.
  • Employees would own the UHA funds, so a person who loses a job would continue to have access to all of the funds in the account.
  • Individuals with UHAs would be allowed to purchase insurance coverage in the group and non-group markets.
  • The UHA could be paired with any health plan -- or none at all, if the UHA owner opted not to purchase insurance.
  • The plan would allow contributions to be made into the accounts by the federal government; for persons with incomes less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level, the federal government would make matching contributions up to $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for families.

According to Devon Herrick, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, said UHAs and HSAs can "preserve the private health insurance market" because "you could give a low-income person a tax credit that could go into a health savings account or a personal health care account" to help buy a private plan.

Although UHAs may help more people cover medical expenses, Herrick said, "There's no policy that will ever cover all of the uninsured."

Source: Editorial, "AHIP Recommends Universal Health Accounts," Health Care News, Heartland Institute, February 1, 2007.

 

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