New Study Confirms HSA Gains in the Individual Insurance Market

AHIP’s new study of the individual insurance market shows the gains by HSAs among families who buy their own insurance, finding that HSAs have a 23 percent market share. Among single individuals, 10 percent have bought an HSA.

According to Insurance News:

“Health savings accounts (HSAs) continue to be a popular coverage option among consumers in the individual market. Ten percent of single policies and 23 percent of family policies chosen provided coverage in conjunction with an HSA. Notably, the average out-of-pocket maximum paid by consumers with an HSA policy often is not much higher than the average plan deductible, meaning many HSA plans consider the deductible to be the primary form of cost-sharing.

Most of the policies chosen had annual out-of-pocket limits under $5,000, and the average lifetime maximum benefit (among plans with a maximum) was nearly $4 million.

While there are many opponents of HSAs who decry the larger deductible for an HSA qualified health plan, one of the most interesting findings of the study is that the average deductible for individual policies is not much lower than HSA qualified plans. This finding will substantially undermine those critics who cite the higher deductible of HSAs as a negative, meaning, that those same critics would have to also criticize the current market dynamics of the individual insurance market — or just be honest, and openly state they do not like high deductible plans, regardless of whether they are HSA qualified or not.

The single thing that critics always ignore is that the higher deductible plans are affordable, while providing protection against catastrophic health care bills and bankruptcy, as well as preventive care coverage.

Brit Travels to Germany for Life-Saving Surgery, would Have Died in Britain because of Minimum 6 Month Wait

Here is the ugly truth about government run health care systems, they work for those who are healthy.

This is the exact claim leveled against HSAs, by the same folks who back government run health care. But why take my word for it? There are plenty of news stories that cite the plight of Brits who have to use crazy glue to put crowns back on their teeth that have fallen off, because they cannot find a dentist, or, in this case, William Budge, a retired farmer who needed a triple by-pass heart surgery and was told he had a minimum six month wait.

Here is his story, in his words, from the UK’s Independent:

“I had severe pain in my right arm a couple of years ago. Doctors first said it was just arthritis. But when I then had severe pain across my chest, I was told that I needed a triple bypass. I was told that I needed to have it within three months, or else I wouldn’t survive. At the same time, I was told the waiting list was a minimum of six months. In effect, I was condemned to die. After a chance meeting with a lady in a hospital car park, I was told that I could get the operation done overseas. Very soon, I arranged to have it done in Germany. We flew into Frankfurt, were met by a hospital liaison officer and were treated like royalty. The very next day I had my operation. The German doctors said they wouldn’t accept the British doctor’s diagnosis, and said that in fact it was a lot more serious and urgent than I had been told. After the operation, I had to stay in the hospital for a few weeks to aid my recovery, my age was a factor in this. Overall my treatment in the hospital was just brilliant: the cleanliness was unbelievable, the staff were polite, and the actual medical treatment was effective. In England I was told that the operation would cost a minimum of £20,000, but could cost up to £40,000. The whole package for treatment in Germany cost only £15,000. I’d recommend the overseas treatment to anyone.”

Seems the free government run health care is not so free, or more accurately, it is free if you are willing to die waiting for your free care. The waiting list issue is not unique to Britain. In Canada, a Member of Parliament who professes her undying support for the government run health care system, caused a furor when she traveled to California to be treated for her breast cancer.

Matthew’s Op-Ed in Wall Street Journal Sparks Four Letters to the Editor

Merrill Matthews’ “A Health-Insurance Solution,” op-ed, Dec. 12 published in the Wall Street Journal resulted in four letters to the editor being published today, one of the most interesting of which is from Sam Litvin, a doctor in New Jersey who cannot understand why his colleague can buy an affordable HSA in California, but he cannot buy one in New Jersey:

“I visited a former medical school classmate in California, a self-employed psychiatrist. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he was able to set up a health savings account ($5,000 deductible) for himself and his family for no more than $4,000 per year in expenses and premiums. When I returned to New Jersey, I called my insurance representative, but was told that very few HSAs are sold at all in my state because all the mandatory coverages imposed by the legislature had made them all but unaffordable.”

There are two big reasons that Dr. Litvin cannot buy an affordable insurance policy in New Jersey: community rating and guaranteed issue, two state laws that guarantee unaffordable health insurance. To give you an idea how expensive health insurance in New Jersey is, click here to see the huge monthly premiums that you must pay to have health insurance in New Jersey. It is little wonder why Dr. Litvin wants to be able to purchase health insurance across state lines.

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