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Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) Still Offer Great Value to Consumers July 20, 2010

Posted by solutionsinsuranceservices in Uncategorized.
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Health Reform Laws Have Little Impact on HSAs, an Affordable Alternative to Traditional Insurance for more than Eight Million Americans

MILWAUKEE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–New health reform laws are not likely to slow down the increasing popularity of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which are proving to be an affordable addition to a consumer directed health insurance plan.

“Health plans with HSAs offer protection and a tax-free way to invest—all at a cost that usually is less than what purchasers would pay for a lower deductible plan”

The new laws (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the Health Care and Education Tax Credits Reconciliation Act of 2010) will have only a minimal impact on individuals with HSAs. The two most relevant changes, which will be effective in 2011, are:

•Expenses incurred for non-prescription over-the-counter medications will no longer be eligible for payment or reimbursement from an HSA.

•The tax penalty on HSA withdrawals not used for qualified medical expenses will be increased from the current 10 percent to 20 percent.

An HSA is a consumer-managed, tax-favored savings account created for the purpose of paying medical expenses. More than eight million Americans are enrolled in HSAs, which are available to individuals and families with high deductible health plans. Enrollment in the individual HSA market rose to 1.8 million covered lives in January 2009, a 20 percent increase from the previous year.

Consumers can get help deciding whether an HSA is right for them by using a calculator on HSAInsights.com that shows them what they could save by switching from a lower deductible health plan to a high deductible plan with an HSA. HSAInsights.com is a Web site that helps individuals, families, employers and retirees understand the basics of HSAs and gives them resources, tools and guidance for making smart choices.

The calculator lets consumers enter information about medical expenses, premiums, deductibles copays and other factors, and provides them with an estimate of their net annual savings. For many families with annual medical expenses of about $1,500, the total savings often exceed $6,000 a year.

“Health plans with HSAs offer protection and a tax-free way to invest—all at a cost that usually is less than what purchasers would pay for a lower deductible plan,” said Scott Krienke, senior vice president, product lines for Assurant Health, the first company to offer an HSA. “With tax day still fresh in many people’s minds, now is a great time for them to start looking for ways to ease their tax burden for 2010.”

For more information on HSAs, visit http://www.hsainsights.com. To learn more about the provisions in the two health reform Acts, visit: http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/housesenatebill_final.pdf

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