The new Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are being touted as capable of revolutionizing health care in the United States. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, HSAs will put health decisions back into the hands of doctors and patients, and out of the hands of insurance companies.
However, HSAs will not take insurers completely out of the picture. In fact, HSAs will create new opportunities for insurers.
That’s because HSAs are only available if used in conjunction with special high-deductible insurance policies.
Passed in December 2003 as part of the Medicare reform law, HSAs have been widely hailed as a major benefit for individuals and small businesses. And there is no doubt they offer some great features.
In order for HSAs to become widely used, the insurance industry will have to develop and offer more high-deductible insurance products.
Insurers such as Aetna have rushed to get new HSA-related products launched and available.
HSAs offer an important way for small businesses to contain health insurance costs and still provide benefits for their employees. Small employers are expected to lead the way with HSAs. Large employers are more likely to sit back and watch how smaller businesses fare before changing their own employee benefit programs.