Kaiser Permanente To Offer HSAs
Kaiser Permanente within a year will begin offering health savings accounts in California, to be used in conjunction with high deductible insurance plans, according to Ted Wise, vice president of new products at Kaiser, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Although health savings accounts offer more tax and investment advantages than other consumer-directed health plans, "opinions are mixed" about whether HSAs "and consumer-directed health plans in general are beneficial to anybody but employers and insurers," the Tribune reports.
HSAs are used in conjunction with high-deductible health plans and allow consumers or employers to contribute pretax dollars to a savings account for health expenses (Brevetti , Oakland Tribune, 5/14). However, in California, contributions to the accounts are taxed as income at 9% (Brevetti , Oakland Tribune, 5/14).
Consumer advocates say that HSAs and high-deductible insurance are impractical for people with moderate incomes and that those who cannot meet their deductible or contribute to the account might forego medical care (Brevetti , Oakland Tribune, 5/14).