As Congress gears up for another summer session, large-scale healthcare reform probably isn't on the agenda. But smaller, committee-level changes might still help redefine the HSA landscape for account holders.
It's been a pretty busy few months for HSAs in the news. Whether it's due to new regulations being proposed in Congress, expanding enrollment numbers, increases (or even decreases) in contribution limit announcements, or shifts in the healthcare landscape, we see HSAs in our news feeds every day. Here's what caught our attention this week:
Hearing on Lowering Costs and Expanding Access to Health Care through Consumer-Directed Health Plans (VIDEO) - House Ways & Means Subcommittee
HSAs had some buzz earlier this week when consumer healthcare accounts were front and center before the House Ways & Means Subcommittee. The hearing addressed topics like enrollment trends and demographics, while also discussing "policies designed to give more consumers access to tax-favored savings accounts, including health savings accounts."
HSAs are one of the few bipartisan issues left in Washington these days. HSA expansions were notable additions to many health reform bills over the past several years. And while Democrats haven't recently called for consumer healthcare account expansion, they haven't advocated to limit them, either.
CDHP, HDHP Participant Consumerism Doesn't Improve Over Time - Rebecca Moore, PlanSponsor
A popular belief in consumer healthcare is that tax-advantaged health accounts make for more informed and active consumers. But a recent Employee Benefit Research Institute issue brief may have thrown a wrench in that idea for now. The brief found that whether a person is enrolled in a traditional health plan or a high-deductible health plan, cost-conscious decision making did not increase with time.
However, the survey did not come to the same conclusion about HSA users. It turns out, the longer an account holder funds an HSA, the more engaged they are. In fact, 71% of people who had an HSA for 10+ years felt they were more empowered in their overall health and financial decisions.
Surveys like this only further show the steep learning curve presented by accounts like HSAs, and highlight the importance of thorough employer/employee education during open enrollment, to help users get the most from these accounts.
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