Universal Health Care Will Cause Rapid Growth in Health Savings Accounts
BearingPoint released projections showing that various Presidential candidates’ health plans, if enacted, will push the number of Health Savings Accounts past 2012 projections of 12 million HSAs and $200 billion in account deposits.
There are very good reasons for this conclusion to be valid, assuming that the Democratic Party does not ban HSAs from being one of the products consumers can buy under the universal coverage program. There is precedent for the Democratic members of Congress to attempt to ban HSAs. They tried to ban HSAs from being included in their recent SCHIP expansion — which was vetoed by the President.
In Massachusetts, among the bluest of blue states, there was an attempt to remove HSA qualified health plans from the list of approved health plans citizens of Massachusetts could buy to meet the states mandate that all must buy health insurance or lose your drivers license. This move to ban HSAs from the list was (obviously) politically motivated.
The problem was that by banning HSAs, some of the lowest cost health plans would be removed from the list of allowable health insurance.
Notwithstanding the push to take HSAs off the list, common sense prevailed and HSAs are an allowable type of health insurance under the Massachusetts health insurance mandate.
Assuming that Congress can rein in its more ideologically motivated members who can not stand HSAs, then yes, universal coverage programs will cause a spike in the number of HSAs beyond the 20 million projected for 2012 for the very reasons BearingPoint says:
1) 30% of the commercially insured (who buy individual, not group, insurance) now have a HSA qualified health plan; and,
2) the additional 20 to 40 million uninsured who utilize the universal coverage option once it becomes law will be likely to gravitate to the low-premium HSA qualified health plans.
BearingPoint also points out that 87% of employers will be offering a consumer directed care option to their employees, and that 50% of employers offering an HSA option contribute cash to the account.
Furthermore, there is a well established trend among those who are moving from an uninsured status to an insured status to purchase, at a rate of about 25%, an HSA qualified health plan.
Therefore, it seems clear that the provided HSAs are among the choices for the uninsured to purchase, once universal coverage becomes law, there will be millions more owners of HSAs.
More States Move on Bills to Force Hospital Price Transparency
The Wisconsin Senate and the both the Alaskan State House and Senate consider price transparency bills. In Alaska’s case, the Governor is pushing the legislature to pass the bill.