HSA News for June 17, 2019

Read the latest news about Health Savings Accounts and consumer-driven health care. This list is compiled by Mr. HSA, Roy Ramthun.

News from Washington

First Major 'Medicare for All' Hearing Sharpens Attacks on Both Sides

Supporters of “Medicare for All” notched a victory on June 12 when one of Congress’s most powerful committees debated the progressive proposal, but the venue also gave Republicans an opportunity to paint proponents as socialists.

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AMA Maintains Its Opposition to Single-Payer Systems

The American Medical Association remains opposed to proposals for the U.S. to create a single-payer healthcare system. The group voted narrowly (53% to 47%) to maintain its stance at its annual House of Delegates meeting, ending days of contentious debate that pitted the organization's leadership against a contingent represented largely by medical students.

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New Final Rule Lets Employees Use HRAs to Buy Health Insurance

On June 13, the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury issued a final rule allowing employers of all sizes that do not offer group coverage to fund an "individual coverage HRA" (ICHRA) starting January 1, 2020. Employees will be able to use employer-funded ICHRAs to buy individual-market insurance, including insurance purchased on the ACA public exchanges.

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A Trio of Trump Rules Will Remake U.S. Health Insurance Markets

President Donald Trump’s attempt to transform American health insurance is almost complete. An executive order set in motion regulations to promote “health care choice and competition across the United States.” On June 13, the administration finished the last of three rules to do just that.

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Mitt Romney Says He Has New Plan to Replace Obamacare

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UTt) said June 12 that he has a new plan to replace Obamacare. Romney did not provide any details of what his replacement plan entails. His office also declined to elaborate. Romney commands a certain stature in the Senate as the former GOP presidential nominee.

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Insurance Companies Will Soon Have to Cover HIV Prevention Pill at No Cost to Patients

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued final recommendations this week that call for screening everyone ages 15 to 65 for HIV as well as providing PrEP to patients at high risk of contracting the virus. Most insurance providers will be required to offer PrEP as a preventive service without copay, coinsurance or other costs to the patient, as set forth by the Affordable Care Act.

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HSA Studies & Analysis

Registered Investment Advisors MIA on HSAs

According to a new survey of registered investment advisors from HealthSavings Administrators, despite the triple tax advantages of HSAs, nearly 60 percent of respondents are not offering HSAs to their clients.

In fact, 26 percent say they don’t even talk to their clients about HSAs. And even when they do offer them, 47 percent present them to clients as spending accounts.

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HSA Compliance Corner

Partial-Year HSA Eligibility

Did you know that you may be able to make a full contribution to your HSA this year, even if you enroll and become HSA-eligible after the beginning of the year? If your coverage becomes effective July 1 (or any time beginning Jan. 2 but no later than Dec. 1), you may be able to make or receive contributions to the statutory maximum annual contribution to your HSA, rather than limited to a pro-rata amount.

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What Are the Requirements for Obtaining IRS Approval to Serve as an HSA Trustee?

Banks, insurers, and approved IRA and Archer MSA trustees and custodians are automatically eligible to serve as HSA trustees. Other entities that wish to become HSA trustees must request IRS approval in accordance with the procedures for non-bank IRA trustees. IRS regulations require a written application demonstrating in detail that the applicant meets specified requirements.

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HSA Industry News

Betterment Moves into HSAs Through United Healthcare Partnership

Robo-adviser Betterment is growing its enterprise business with a new product for health insurers and their customers. The New York-based company is partnering with United Healthcare and Optum Bank to launch a "simple, smart, automated" HSA for United Healthcare customers, says CEO Jon Stein.

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HSA Industry Best Practices

How to Maximize Participation in Consumer-Directed Health Benefits

If you want to see adoption rates of HDHPs and HSAs/FSAs increase, you must lead employers to the right strategy – from plan design, to open enrollment communication, and throughout the plan year. Here a few plan design strategies that will lead employers to increased adoption.

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The HSA Market

HSAs in Health Care Reform and in Retirement

HSA Council Executive Director Kevin McKechnie recently sat down with Dr. Bill West, SVP for HealthEquity, to discuss the role of HSAs in health care reform and in retirement. Listen to the interview on this YouTube video.

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Scope of Innovation in Consumer-Driven Healthcare

The use of modern technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning is rapidly evolving the healthcare experience toward better outcomes for employees and employers. The technology is also improving the way consumers save and pay their healthcare expenses. Here are some of the areas where consumer-driven healthcare will see the maximum innovation.

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As Sharing Health-Care Costs Takes Off, States Warn: It Isn’t Insurance

Religious organizations where members help pay each other’s medical bills have grown from niche insurance alternatives to operations bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars, an increase that is also driving more consumer complaints and state scrutiny.

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Vitality Partners With SmartDollar to Offer Employer Financial Wellness Platform

Vitality Group and SmartDollar have combined forces to give companies an option for providing financial wellness to their employees. Vitality is making SmartDollar available to all of its clients as part of its Gateway platform as a result of expanding its offerings to include financial wellness.

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HSAs & Retirement

An Easily Overlooked Investment Account Can Give Retirement Savings a Huge Boost — if It's Used the Right Way

If you're one of the millions of Americans worried about being able to afford medical expenses in retirement, you may want to consider putting money aside in an HSA. HSAs are exactly what they sound like: savings accounts that can be used for expenses related to your health — now, in retirement, or any time in between.

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HSAs a Way to Invest for Health Care in Old Age

We need to start thinking about health care as a separate major expense that we need to pay for in retirement and there is a way to do it. One of the most underused retirement savings vehicles is the HSA.

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As You Save for Retirement, Remember These 6 Key Things About HSAs

HSAs are becoming a more common feature of benefit packages. But even if you are among the 25 million HSA account owners, there may still be many things you don't know about these accounts. If you plan to use your HSA to cover medical expenses in retirement, consider investing in mutual funds instead of low-yielding money market deposit accounts.

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Employees Not Using HSAs to Invest for Retirement Is a Problem

Educating employees on how to best use an HSA, especially for long-term savings and investment, is a challenge for employers that offer HSAs as part of their health care benefits. The growth in HSA usage and assets has been explosive, yet this is still a relatively new vehicle that is widely misunderstood.

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90% of New Retirees Are Facing This Common (and Expensive) Problem

There are dozens of factors to consider before you retire. Do you have enough saved to cover all your daily expenses? How much will you depend on Social Security? How do you plan to spend all your free time? One factor in particular, though, can't be overlooked: Healthcare costs.

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HSAs and Retirement Guide

HSAs are growing in popularity - and not just because Americans need help meeting rising healthcare costs. Despite this rapid growth, there is still more that Americans could do to take full advantage of the special tax characteristics and retirement wealth-building potential of HSAs. This guide is designed to help you get the full benefit available from an HSA.

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Maximizing Your HSA

Get the Most From an HSA

I’m 60, and I understand that I can withdraw up to $1,580 from my HSA tax-free to pay long-term-care insurance premiums. Can I also use money from the HSA for my spouse’s long-term-care premiums? Yes, you can use money from your HSA tax-free for long-term-care premiums. The amount is based on the age of the person whose premiums are paid.

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The Benefit of Having an HSA

HSAs can be one means of saving money for long term care needs, including qualified long term care costs and long term care insurance premiums.

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Consumer-Driven Health Care

Average Cost of Hospital ER Visit Surges 176% in a Decade, Report Says

Hospital emergency rooms are more likely to charge pricier levels of care than a decade ago, generating bigger bills that consumers increasingly must pay with their own money, according to a new report. Hospital emergency rooms not only substantially increased prices for care from 2008 through 2017, the hospitals and doctors also billed for more complex care, which allows them to collect more lucrative fees.

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Have a High Deductible? CHI Health Program Offers Discounts for Imaging, Lab Tests

The last thing Stacy Beller needs right now is a huge medical bill. But her doctor recommended a CT scan, a test that was going to cost more than $4,000, nearly all of which would have come out of her pocket thanks to an HDHP. That caused Beller to pause and consider not getting the scan. But thanks to a new option at CHI Health hospitals, she didn't have to.

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6 Places to Buy Prescription Glasses Online Using Insurance, HSA, or FSA Money

There are now many online glasses retailers that can provide a seamless, convenient, and affordable shopping experience. These retailers will make you enjoy shopping for glasses again. Check to see whether the retailer accepts insurance and FSA/HSA dollars.

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The True Cost of High-Deductible Health Care Plans

Many insured workers in such plans must pay thousands more than that each year. The medical math is forcing them to view their health insurance as something for worst-case scenarios — like a major hospitalization — rather than insurance that helps pay for doctor visits and prescriptions.

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Insurance Companies Adopting Policies That Make Medications Unaffordable for Patients

Copay accumulators can impact anyone, but those who are most at risk are patients with high deductible plans who rely on high-price prescription drugs. They often have no indication that a copay accumulator has been added to their plan until they try to have their medications filled at the beginning of the year.

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The Worst Patients in the World

Americans are hypochondriacs, yet we skip our checkups. We demand drugs we don’t need, and fail to take the ones we do. No wonder the U.S. leads the world in health spending.

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Bryan CaplanComment