States Consider Encouraging Increased Use of HSAs
Some states recently have enacted or considered legislation to encourage increased use of health savings accounts to help reduce health care costs, CongressDaily reports. According to the American Legislative Exchange Council, five states last year enacted legislation to exempt HSAs from state income taxes.
In addition, Florida this year plans to implement legislation that will allow Medicaid beneficiaries to participate in plans similar to HSAs, and a similar measure proposed in South Carolina awaits federal approval. Oklahoma and Florida last year enacted legislation that requires municipal and state agencies to offer HSAs to employees, and lawmakers in seven other states last year introduced similar measures.
Christie Raniszewski Herrera, director of the health and human services task force for the council, said that she expects "a lot of (state activity)" related to HSAs in the future. She added, "Increasingly, states and legislatures will see HSAs as a good first step" toward improvements in their health care systems.
However, Bernie Horn, senior director of the Center for Policy Alternatives, said that legislation to encourage increased use of HSAs would lead to higher health care costs for states. "You're taking the healthiest people out" of the health insurance risk pool, he said, adding, "Why would a state want to increase its own costs?" (Klein, CongressDaily, 2/13).