Texas Health Insurance Agents Advocate HSA Plans as Deterrent to Rising Health Care Costs
Texas Association of Health Underwriters call for legislative action and consumer consideration.
As health care costs continue to rise, the Texas Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU) is calling attention to high-deductible health plans linked to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The professional organization of more than 1,900 independent health insurance agents finds that these plans are more cost-effective, provide better protection against the costs of a major medical problem and encourage consumers to make cost-conscious health care decisions.
“High-deductible insurance plans combined with an HSA should be at the center of our nation’s efforts to expand health insurance coverage,” TAHU President Joanna Antongiovanni said. “They are an extremely effective way to both curb rising health costs and ensure that more Americans have access to quality care. Even better, they don’t require billions in new federal expenditures.”
TAHU states that with an HSA plan individuals can set aside up to $3,050 per year in pre-tax dollars, or $6,150 for families, to pay for routine medical expenses. Once a consumer reaches his policy’s annual deductible, insurance generally covers any additional medical expenses. Funds left in the account at the end of the year remain the individual’s property for future use. According to a study by the American Academy of Actuaries, high-deductible plans can save consumers up to 20 percent within the first year and three to five percent the following years.
“Participants have an incentive to avoid paying for unnecessary services because they keep the money they don’t spend,” Antongiovanni said. “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services project that total health spending will increase more than 80 percent through the end of this decade. TAHU will continue recommending HSA plans to consumers and lobbying for their inclusion in future legislation to help offset these costs and increase the number of people who have access to health insurance.”