Health Savings Account Plans Face Transparency Challenges
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Health savings accounts, more commonly known as HSAs, may provide great benefits to California health insurance policyholders, but unfortunately, many individuals find it nearly impossible to determine the potential cost of doctors, hospital stays, drugs, and treatment plans because of a lack of transparency in pricing for such services. Basically, according to the Health Savings Account Resource Center, pricing transparency continues to "provide potential challenge for HSA participants".
HSA, or health savings account, is actually a savings account that offers consumers an alternative method for saving money for medical expenses. Health insurance accounts are specially designed for individuals who have high deductible health plans. Because of the high deductibles, individuals may receive health benefits for lower monthly premium costs than others, although the high deductible, often ranging between $3,000, $5,000 and $10,000 may be difficult to save. That's where the HSA account comes in.
An individual has complete control over a health savings account. However, knowing how much to put aside for injuries, illness, tests, and procedures is difficult if not impossible because of the lack of information or transparency by third-party payers when it comes to medical services. Because of this lack of transparency, individuals find it extremely difficult to know how much to place in a HSA or whether it will even be enough to cover deductibles in the event of accident, illness or disease diagnosis. Health savings accounts are a wonderful way for individuals to save money for health care, but only if such costs may be determined ahead of time. Therefore, the safest route for those purchasing health savings account options is to go ahead and deposit maximum dollars on a yearly basis into the HSA whenever possible.
For example, in the year 2008, minimum deductibles for health insurance plans had to be at least $1,100 for self-coverage, or $2,200 for family coverage. Out-of-pocket expenses including co-pays and deductibles could not exceed $5,600 for self-only coverage, or $11,200 for family coverage.
An HSA savings account into which an individual deposits money at their own pace. HSA accounts are offered with most major banks, health insurance companies, credit unions, and even some employers. Discuss such options with your California health insurance agent.
The health savings account (HSA) is a tax-exempt account into which individuals deposit money throughout the year, though caps are set in place for them. Contribution limits for 2009 for single plans is $3000, or $5,950 for family plans.
Health savings accounts are generally utilized to pay for and cover small as well as routine medical expenses until deductibles have been met. Individuals who have received a high deductible health plan, also known as HDHP, are able to enjoy the lower monthly premiums, although serious injuries and illnesses such as accidents, trauma, cancers, and disease processes are covered under such a plan.
However, there are several beneficial factors involved with opening an HSA account. Anyone who owns an HSA qualified health plans can contribute to an HSA and all contributions are tax deductible. Payroll deductions made to HSAs are also done so on a pretax basis.
For more information regarding an HSA, visit United States Department of the Treasury at www.ustreas.gov or ask your California health insurance agent for additional information.
Find an HSA qualified California Health Insurance Plan
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