HSA News for August 5, 2019

HSA news is compiled weekly by Mr. HSA, Roy Ramthun.

News from Washington

Hospitals Would Have to Reveal Discounted Prices They Give Insurers Under Trump Rule

The Trump administration said it would begin forcing hospitals to publicly disclose the discounted prices they negotiate with insurance companies, a requirement intended to help patients shop for better deals on a range of medical services, from hip replacements to CT scans. The plan, issued as a proposed federal rule, would take effect in January, 2020.

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HHS and FDA Release Drug Importation Plan to Lower Prices

HHS and the FDA released a plan on July 31 to lay the foundation for safe importation of certain drugs intended for foreign markets. The plan represents a shift in agency thinking regarding importation from foreign countries. HHS has long been resistant to importation due to concerns about drug safety.

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White House Considers September Roll-Out of Health Plan

The Trump administration is considering releasing a health care plan next month to counter the push by some 2020 Democratic candidates for a Medicare for All program. The plan could include a guarantee to maintain coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and additional insurance options. The plan could also include expanding HSAs and link price transparency to quality measures.

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HSA Studies & Analysis

Behavioral Roadblocks Facing HSA Investing

A large portion of HSA account holders do not know they are able to invest within their HSA. According to research by WEX Health, 61% of HSA account holders surveyed, were either unaware or unsure if they could invest within their HSA. For those who are aware of the availability of investments, behavioral nudges can help overcome inertia by reminding account holders of the options available to them.

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HSA Compliance Corner

Understanding Form 8889 for HSA Contributions

The HSA can be an excellent savings and investment account for the young professional. However, the HSA requires you to fill out one extra form at tax time. This form explains how to use IRS Form 8889 for HSA contributions, distributions, and deductions.

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HSA Industry News

Alegeus, Picwell Partner to Provide Health Benefit Decision Support

Alegeus has partnered with Picwell to enable Alegus clients to help consumers make smart benefit choices during open enrollment. Alegeus’ clients can fully integrate Picwell’s into their existing enrollment experience via their benefit administration platform, or they can embed Picwell’s capabilities directly within their open enrollment communications and campaigns.

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HealthSavings Partners With Orion to Promote HSA Investment

HealthSavings Administrators is integrating with Orion Advisor Services to promote HSA investment. To ensure advisors can easily include HSAs as a fixture in their long-term financial strategy for clients, the integration will allow advisors to manage them in the same dashboard as other retirement investment accounts, such as IRAs and 401(k)s.

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HSA Industry Best Practices

Achieving Better HSA Engagement

As HSAs continue to soar in popularity, many plan sponsors continue to express challenges in communicating to employees about their HSAs. One trend among plan sponsors has been to align the HSA with the 401(k) — a trend that we think will continue.

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How to Help Employees Avoid High Medical Bills

There are a number of ways employers can help mitigate the impact of the cost of care for employees who face high medical costs. The first step is to make sure they have a strong understanding of how their health insurance plan works. Another way is to help employees pay for care with FSAs and HSAs.

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The Bend Advisor: GPS for HSAs

Most people know how GPS works. Provide some information and directions pop up on your screen. What if your HSA provider could do the same thing, guiding accountholders along the HSA journey to financial health? The Bend HSA does that today with its Bend Advisor.

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The HSA Market

3 Side Effects of HDHPs, and How to Monitor and Manage Them

Since HDHPs are now embedded in so many health plans, benefits leaders and the consultants advising them should consider monitoring and managing the “side effects” of HDHP plans. Here are 3 considerations for benefits leaders, consultants, and people covered under these plans to monitor the effects and address them to ensure people are getting the care they need.

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Tweak the Cadillac Tax

It doesn't look like the Senate will follow the House of Representatives' lead in abolishing the Cadillac tax. But how about a common-sense tweak to the rule? This solution keeps the Cadillac Tax in place, but excludes employee salary deferrals for HSAs and FSAs from the calculation of total premium subject to the tax.

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HSAs & Retirement

HSA Bill Could Expand Their Use for Retirement Savings

A recent legislative bill may expand the advantages of HSAs. The Health Savings for Seniors Act, introduced in the House of Representatives this past month by Reps. Ami Bera (D-CA) and Jason Smith (R-MO), would permit American workers enrolled in Medicare to open and contribute to an HSA without changing their coverage.

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Bill to Improve HSAs for Medicare Users Comes With a Big Downside

A new bill in Congress would allow Medicare beneficiaries to contribute money to HSAs. Under current law, once a person signs up for Medicare, they must stop putting money in those tax-advantaged accounts. At the same time, though, the bill explicitly removes the ability to use HSA withdrawals to pay for Medicare premiums — something that’s currently allowed.

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Use an HSA to Boost Your Retirement Savings

HSAs, along with 401(k) plans and IRAs, can be a key part of an overall retirement savings strategy. Financial advisers increasingly see HSAs as a savvy strategy for stashing money away for your post-working life. If you open an HSA, you should both maximize its benefits and avoid a few pitfalls.

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Advisors Need to Own the HSA Conversation

Advisors in the 401(k) space need to “own” the HSA conversation or risk playing second fiddle to employee benefits advisors, according to Ryan Tiernan at American Funds. Tiernan said that HSA usage will continue to grow as people learn about them because they are such a powerful way to invest for the long-term costs of health care.

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Maximizing Your HSA

Working Americans Are Passing Up a Key Savings Opportunity

It's surprising to learn that only 25% rank contributing to an HSA as a top financial priority. In fact, 69% of employees who didn't enroll in an HSA last year say they opted out because they didn't see the benefit or didn't understand how HSAs work. If you're eligible for an HSA, you should know that by not funding one, you're missing out on a key savings opportunity. And that's something you might regret.

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HSAs, FSAs and HRAs: Get to Know the Health Savings Alphabet

As employers increasingly offer financial wellness programs that cover both financial and physical well-being, it has become necessary for retirement plan advisers to expand their knowledge to include options for plan participants to save on health care costs through HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs.

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HSA. FSA. HRA. HIA. What Do All These Even Mean?

If you’re confused by these acronyms, you’re not alone. Knowing what the acronyms mean is important, but it’s even more important to know what the health accounts actually do so you can provide the best options for you and your employees. Let’s break each down one-by-one.

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Consumer-Driven Health Care

Scott Atlas Discusses How HSAs Push Health Care Prices Down

HSAs are an effective and proven method of reducing healthcare prices for everyone, not just those with HSAs. When patients are motivated to compare prices, prices for everyone decline significantly. While HSAs are effective in making health care more affordable, they should be expanded and allowed with any healthcare plan.

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I Found an Alternative to Expensive Health Insurance Premiums and It's Saved Me $50,000 in 5 Years

I joined Liberty HealthShare, a health sharing ministry, with my family in 2014 after becoming self-employed and losing my employer-sponsored health insurance. Over five years, I've saved more than $50,000 on healthcare with Liberty HealthShare. Liberty is not an insurance company, rather a group of like-minded people who agree to share healthcare costs.

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Bryan CaplanComment