HSAs won’t be a vi­able op­tion for many now on ACA plans

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the ar­ti­cle “Trump signs ex­ec­u­tive or­der as first strike at end­ing Af­ford­able Care Act” (Mod­ern Health­care.com, Jan. 20), in re­sponse to the of­ten-heard sugges­tion that health sav­ings ac­counts are a vi­able op­tion to health in­sur­ance, HSAs wouldn’t be a work­able op­tion for peo­ple liv­ing un­der the poverty level. Ad­di­tion­ally, pa­tients who are acutely ill are not in a po­si­tion to shop around for the best price, even if they could de­ter­mine the fi­nal price when they ac­cept a ser­vice.

In­sur­ers ne­go­ti­ate prices with hos­pi­tals, but peo­ple pay­ing for their own care (which is what those pay­ing from HSAs would be do­ing) are of­ten billed at much higher rates than the ne­go­ti­ated ones, which in­creases the risk for those re­ly­ing on these ac­counts for pro­tec­tion from fi­nan­cial dis­as­ter. Al­though many providers have started to of­fer dis­counts for cash pay­ments by pa­tients, the ma­jor­ity of pa­tients whose in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums were sub­si­dized by the ACA would have dif­fi­culty pay­ing their rent or buy­ing gro­ceries if they paid enough into an HSA to cover even the dis­counted cost of a hospi­tal or emer­gency de­part­ment visit. Jean O’Mal­ley Port­land, Ore.

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