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Can HSAs Be Saved?

President Obama has now announced his willingness to include what he calls ‘GOP ideas’ in his latest healthcare reform package. Among them: Saving for healthcareallowing health savings accounts (HSAs) to survive. HSAs are an essential tool, coupled with reform of health insurance, to help encourage improved cost-consciousness in the use of healthcare services by the public. Indiana’s Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, recently reported that the HSA experiment in his state “is reducing the costs for the state and its employees”. In the first year, just 4 percent of Indiana’s state workers signed up for HSAs. This year, 70 percent of Indiana’s state employees chose HSAs. At year’s end, the unused funds remaining in an employee’s account became their permanent property, a powerful incentive both to stay healthy and to spend healthcare money wisely.
Professor Regina Herzlinger of Harvard has written brilliantly about this topic in her book Market-driven Health Care: Who Wins, Who Loses in the Transformation of America’s Largest Service Industry. In short: Let consumers decide where they want their healthcare dollars to be spent and allow them to reap the benefits if they save money by choosing wisely or remaining well.
HSAs are particularly important for those of us who believe in natural health. We can use our HSAs to pay for doctor visits that are not covered by conventional health insurance. The effective elimination of HSAs and related accounts in the House and Senate Health bills has been a particularly sore point for us, since it would mean that we would be forced to pay for low deductible health insurance even though this insurance would exclude most natural medical treatments. Will HSAs likely survive now? It is much too early to say. We will have more on President Obama’s latest healthcare proposal as soon as it takes legislative form.

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24 thoughts on “Can HSAs Be Saved?

  • Hello,
    I am a physician in the state of MT, and am constantly correcting everyone that refers to the current medical reform bill as a “health care” reform bill. This atrocity of constitutional blasphemy has nothing to do with health care, and will undermine any health care that is available currently. We must refer to it not as health care reform, but as “sick care/disease management” or medical reform. Please, we need a paradigm shift in order to understand how to obtain true healthcare.
    Thank you,
    Dr. Jerry Taylor

  • Carol Robinson

    HSAs are particularly important for those of us who believe in natural health. We can use our HSAs to pay for doctor visits that are not covered by conventional health insurance. The effective elimination of HSAs and related accounts in the House and Senate Health bills has been a particularly sore point for us, since it would mean that we would be forced to pay for low deductible health insurance even though this insurance would exclude most natural medical treatments.

  • Rae-Ellen Koenig

    I was refused to be covered by a Health Savings Plan by several insurance companies. I was told that I was too “short” for my weight. How dare they! Wasn’t this a plan offered to me as an American and a self employed healthy woman, who prides herself on exploring alternative/integrative medicine.. Seldom do I make doctor visits, do costly lab testing or MRI’s , CAT scans etc. I regularly practice Tai Chi and Chi Gong and feel strong and healthy even though I am considered “obese” according to insurance and medical “standards”. And yet, terrorist in Guantanamo Prison have Free quality health care, dental, education, food, free living expenses. We need to drastically adjust our SYSTEM!

  • If people had to pay for most medical procedures like they do in dentistry, they would probably not be able to afford most of the costly services and choose to live a more healthful life. Health Savings Accounts allow consumers to decide about their health expenditures and have an opportunity to use the money for health-promoting services instead of sickness care. As biological dentists, my husband and I found that our patients who had health savings accounts were able to pay for dental services not covered by dental insurance. Since dental infections, jaw imbalances, and toxic dental materials can be the root cause of many illnesses, the option of using a medical plan to pay for dental services promotes stronger immune systems and fewer health problems. A Health Savings Account when combined with a high deductible health insurance plan, makes the most sense for true health care reform and freedom of choice. We should all support the increased use of HSAs and other consumer driven health care.
    Andrea Brockman, BSN, DDS
    President, OraMedica International, LLC

  • Jean Smith


  • My family and I have an HSA. We believe it has been and is currently the best option for us. However, Insurance companies still increase the premiums to high and periodically that we are forced to change to another company to get back into our financal comfort zone. I know Insurance Agents like this and Insurance companies reduce risk by doing this, yet there should be less hikes and more incentive for those who take care of themselves and have fewer doctor visits per year. There is a way to keep your children health and out of the doctor’s office so rates should be lower for those who do so.

  • Wayne Logan

    It is very beneficial to all concerned with health to promote HSA’s. It certainly does not contribute to the deficit and it does promote savings and health.

  • I don’t think keeping HSAs is enough for me. Most of the health care bill has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with power and instituting a communist way of doing business in our health care system with people who know nothing about health care in a position of power over you and the health care providers who can say yea or nay on your health care. Everything the government is in charge of IS BROKE. Why do you people want to give them another 17% of the economy??? Especially when they have failed at everything else. The only reason the Post Office is still around is that it is against the law to compete with it.

  • HSAs are particularly important for those of us who believe in natural health. Please support legislation for HSAs, since this is a good way to bring down the cost of health care.

  • Bonnie Sullivan

    My husband and I, both self employed and healthy, would benefit tremendously from HSAs. We carry only catastrophic insurance now, which keeps going up at 25% a clip, and rarely need health care. An HSA would pay for check ups, lab work, etc. At 59 and 60 we take no medications,we don’t need a drug plan. If we cannot have a public option to keep costs down, then please give us HSAs.
    thank you.

  • Alexander MacInnis

    I hope HSAs are not like FSA (flexible spending accounts). I found FSAs to be a total rip-off; and really, all they are is gambling encouraged by the government, with the tables tilted to enrich the companies that administer them. I will not use FSAs again!
    What’s wrong with FSAs? They are administered by for-profit companies, and while you put your own money in, the company can capriciously deny your valid medical expenses and keep the money for themselves. Yes, there are IRS guidelines on allowable medical expenses, and I have experienced companies denying them anyway. Apparently the game they play is to deny, deny, deny, and hope that the customers don’t fight hard enough to get their own money back before the calendar runs out, at which point they just keep it. Terrible.
    If the government really wanted people to get a tax break for paying for their own health care, it could simply make all medical expenses fully deductible with no minimums, limitations, exclusions, or excuses. But that has not happened.
    However, HSAs might be great. Sounds good. But I don’t trust the companies that would likely run them. The one good thing I see that you wrote is that with HSAs, any money not spent in one year is left in the account for the future. That addresses a big gripe with FSAs.
    I still wonder whether the administering companies, or the government for that matter, will deny allowing consumers to spend their own money on natural and alternative medical care. They need to earn our trust.

  • Mr. President, We need natural health To keep us alive. The food and drug adminstration is on the pockets of big pharmo. They o’k drugs that have so many side affects that should not even be on the market. I think they just want to get rid of the poor .What we need in health care is
    1. Every one should have health care, The hospitals should have to keep cost down and the Doctors should be on salary “like the Cleveland Clinic” That should be the model for health care.
    We should be able to use natural products and Drs. who are trained to use themand big pharmo. should not be able to use them in their per scriptions so we have to Pay big bucksfor them.

  • There is no way I’ll be forced to purchase health insurance that does NOT cover natural medicine. I’ll move to Ukraine before being forced to buy some junk that I would never use anyway. What’s wrong with Congress anyway? Americans want natural medicine, natural medicine saves money and natural medicine generally does NOT kill innocent Americans. So why can’t Congress do the right thing? Why indeed.

  • Victoria

    I believe the Govm’t is aware of the viability of natural health care practices, but it doesn’t make any body in the driver’s seat money. I believe the Govm’ts agenda is not in line with the people who elect them.

  • Werner Stadel

    HSA’s are a good idea but are seriously flawed in that you usually pay substantially more for a given service or drug than the negotiated rate charged the insurance company. While I believe in the free market, the Japanese health care model of fixed prices makes alot of sense.

  • Becoming a healthy nation can not happen when those in power have taken the role of dictators and will do anything to make a buck. When they can’t shove their pharmaceuticals down our throats, they dump them on our heads. Life is a constant fight with these money mongers that are literally drunk on power. Our survival as well as HSAs and other programs wanted by the people depends on making drastic changes with those in office. It should be obvious now, no one got the ” change “they thought they would get with this administration. It is time to make a real change for the people, by the people.

  • Gloria

    I’m not sure where I stand on HSA’s. If some company or govt (other than ourselves) have control over it, then that gives them the power to deny us coverage for wholistic health care; wholistic supplememts or rewards for healthy resuls reflected in our lab tests.
    I am against ANY forced anything – health insurance or any other plan. Nothing in the U. S. Constitution allows for that. I pay cash for all of my medical needs. And should I have to be rushed to the hospital and not be able to pay for it (which I don’t forsee) – then the hospital should contact the govt. and have it taken out of my future Sopcial Security payments, IF I cannot pay the medical bill.
    But before that happens, some independent rotating board of U.S. citizens should scrutinize the outrageously high billing prevalent in most hospitals. This is a hige racket that is something that needs to be reformed first.
    If a person doesn’t have Social Security coming to them, then the

  • Clora Rowsell

    Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing problem with ur rss . Don?t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting identical rss downside? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

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