HSAs: A TEST OF TIME?
July 20, 2006
John C. Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, says that all workers will save money in the long run with health savings accounts (HSAs). Indeed, HSAs are the future of employer-based health care.
So how can they be expanded and made more flexible?
According to Goodman:
- Instead of employers putting the same number of dollars in everybody`s account, they should be able to put more in the accounts of people that they know have higher costs and less in the accounts of those with lower costs.
- All employers know that employees have different health costs and they pay more for the premiums of some than others, so why shouldn't they also be able to put different amounts in the (HSAs)?
- The Bush administration has supported this idea in principle and there are some bills over on (Capitol) Hill that would allow employers to do this.
Goodman says he would like to see these accounts used creatively to solve the problems of the chronically ill, and to do that, they would have to have special contributions depending on the (health) condition and its expected costs.
But won't such condition-specific accounts create a lot of paperwork for the employer and discourage their use?
"That's up to the employer and I don't think they'll bother with it unless there's some returns. But I will tell you that we've already started doing this in Medicaid and for disabled patients under Medicaid. About half the states now have private programs called 'Cash and Counsel' (which lets disabled (Medicaid recipients) manage their own health care dollars and make their own decisions," says Goodman.
Source: "HSAs: A test of time?" United Press International, July 19, 2006.
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