HSA Headlines - Where the health care debate is heading

As the last days of summer slide through, Congress coming back in session and open enrollment season in full swing, there's about to be plenty of big health care headlines coming down off the wire in the coming weeks.

In last week's post, we examined the massive growth of HSA enrollment, assets and more. While those numbers were certainly promising, some HSA user behaviors still continue on. We'll dive into that and where we think the national health care debate could be heading this fall.

Investing HSA Savings is Key to Building Accounts - Rebecca Moore, PlanSponsor

PlanSponsor took a deeper dive into the Devenir numbers we examined last week, and while there was positive news across the board, users are not taking full advantage of HSA investing potential from the get-go when opening their accounts. While HSA investments have increased 35% year-over-year from June 2018-19, seasonality of when employees make contributions is an unexpected curveball.

It turns out that when employees open up an HSA investment account during the fall open enrollment season, most will leave them unfunded until the following spring. This accounts for a majority of the 15% of unfunded accounts that Devenir found in its survey. This suggests that additional HSA education is needed on the employee level to help workers get these accounts funded sooner so they can start building wealth.

The two big healthcare fights coming up this fall - Dylan Scott, Vox

While Medicare-for-All certainly isn't passing anytime soon, there are a number of healthcare-specific bills that could see a vote in the coming months - and a lot of public debate in the media. The first is a drug pricing plan from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), which would direct the federal government to negotiate prices of certain expensive drugs with little or no competition — and, crucially, that would also become the price in the private market, not just the Medicare drug coverage price.

This would certainly set up a battle with the pharmaceutical industry, but drug pricing reform has broad, bipartisan support, so this plan could see some action in the fall.

Finally, surprise medical bills and how Congress can act to reduce American's healthcare costs. A number of different proposals are on the table, but most center on how much insurers should charge and what a patient's liability is when visiting an out-of-network hospitals or provider during an emergency and are then hit with massive bills. But with major pushback expected from the industry at large, this one is gearing up for a big health care fight in Congress.

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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