NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

MSA's Popular With The Uninsured

October 11, 2002

While the number of uninsured Americans continues to rise, one of the few proven remedies, Medical Savings Accounts (MSA), remains in Congressional deadlock.

This despite the fact that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released numbers showing many of those who purchased MSAs had experienced substantial periods of being without insurance prior to obtaining an MSA.

  • The number of uninsured Americans is now 41.2 million.
  • According to the IRS, 73 percent of those who purchased MSAs in 2001 were previously uninsured for six months or more.
  • MSA also have been proven to reduce health care costs for employers and workers.

However, experts still caution that MSAs are hobbled with restrictions that currently prevent their use from becoming more widespread. For example, the reforms necessary to make MSAs available to the majority of the uninsured (and insured) Americans are stalled as part of the House version of the Patient's Bill of Rights. The current restrictions on MSAs also significantly limit the number of insurers who offer them since the pilot program is scheduled to sunset December 31, 2003.

Source: "IRS Data Release Today for 2001: 73% of MSAs Were Purchases by Previously Uninsured," The Archer MSA Coalition, press release, September 30, 2002.


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