DownsizeDC.org
September 23, 2009
NEW CAMPAIGN: How you can get more for less
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest." -- Albert Einstein

Subject: What the politicians promise, HSAs deliver.

Downsize DC's full-time employees have their own Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and when you see what they've done for us, you may want one too.

HSA plans cover our employee's health care expenses through a combination of major medical insurance and a tax-free savings account (which benefit from Einstein's most powerful force in the universe!). Our employees . . .

* Don't pay taxes on the money deposited into their HSAs, or on the interest they earn from that money.
* Use debit cards to pay for basic medical expenses out of their HSAs.
* Have insurance coverage for major expenses above the annual amount they can legally deposit in their HSAs.  
* Don't risk losing coverage if they change jobs. They own their insurance and their HSAs.

In addition to these benefits, other amazing things happened when we switched to HSAs . . .

* Our costs dropped by more than 30% per month.
* The insurance industry and the government started getting less of our money, and our employees got more.
* Our employees became cost conscious.

Every dollar our employees don't spend gets to stay in their HSAs, accumulating compounded interest tax free! This motivates them to make more frugal use of health care services, and to ask providers for a better price. Here are two examples . . .

EXAMPLE #1:

A doctor wanted one our employees to get an expensive MRI. Our employee told the doctor he would be paying for the MRI out of his HSA, and asked how much it would cost. The doctor gave a shocking reply: "Well, I think we can skip the MRI. You don't really need it."

This doctor was willing to order the test when he thought someone other than the patient would pay for it. Many other doctors behave the same way. If more people had HSAs fewer questionable procedures would be conducted, and the total demand for medical procedures would drop. Lower demand would lead to lower prices!

But the widespread use of HSAs would also lower costs in other ways. Consider . . .

EXAMPLE #2:

One of our employees needed a blood test. He was going to be spending his own money out of his HSA, so he shopped around for prices. A few simple phone calls enabled him to get more things tested for half the price!

The fact that he was spending his own money motivated our employee to get better care at less cost!

We strongly urge you to make HSAs a central part of your personal plan for health care reform . . .

* If you're self-employed, consider getting an HSA policy, or . . .
* If you have insurance through your employer, ask them to consider switching to an HSA.
* We found our HSA plan here. 

The politicians claim they want to . . .

* Make health insurance more affordable (HSAs do that!)
* Protect people from losing their insurance if they change jobs (HSAs do that!)
* Lower health care costs and improve quality (HSAs do that!)
* Balance the way taxes impact those who have health insurance through their employers versus those who must buy insurance directly (HSAs do that!)

The outcomes the politicians claim they want could be better achieved by expanding and improving HSAs. But instead, the politicians want to . . .

* Spend more,
* Borrow more,
* Tax more,
* And reduce consumer choice by placing more bureaucratic controls over the kind of health care you can receive.

Even worse, some proposals in Congress would actually harm HSAs, or even abolish them!

In addition, some in Congress want to to start taxing employer-provided health benefits. They say it's unfair that self-employed people have to buy health insurance with after-tax dollars, while those with employer-provided health insurance get a tax-free benefit. They're partly right -- it is unfair, but . . .

Congress could fix this problem simply by expanding the amount of money people can deposit into Health Savings Accounts. This would put employer-provided and self-provided health insurance on the same tax basis.

Please use DownsizeDC.org's Educate the Powerful System to ask your Congressional employees to protect and improve HSAs. You can send your letter to Congress here.

Use your personal comments to tell Congress they should expand the tax free HSA deposit limit to something like $8,000 for individuals, and $16,000 for families. This would allow those who have self-funded HSAs and major medical policies to get the same tax treatment that employer-provided health insurance now has.

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army. To see how fast the Army is growing, please check out the Keeping Score report below my signature.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

KEEPING SCORE REPORT

Your Downsize DC Army grew by 4 net new members yesterday. This brings our total growth for the year to 3,887. The Downsize DC Army now stands at 28,233, nearly 23% of the way between 28,000 and 29,000. 

YOU can make the army KEEP GROWING by following our quick and easy instructions for personalized recruiting.

We can also grow faster by spreading the word through the media. Please help us do this by starting a monthly credit card pledge -- it can be as low as $5 a month (which is just 17 cents per day). You can start your pledge using our secure online contribution form.

Please let us know if its okay to advertise your support here:

NEW MONTHLY PLEDGERS IN SEPTEMBER: Henrik Pedersen, James Spaller, John Houghton, Poul Petersen, Mark Wilczek, Mann Page Ciesemier, Leslie Thomas-Rieser, Jim Lorenz, Chelsea Moller, 3 unlisted -- (12 new pledgers total) PLEDGERS FROM AUGUST: Glen Ihrig, Gary J Leidy, David Bergland, Gary T Gorski, Don J Crites, 8 unlisted -- (13 new pledgers total)

Or, you could make a one-time donation.Please let us know on our secure contribution form if its okay to advertise your support here:

NEW ONE TIME DONORS IN SEPTEMBER: M. W. Baumeister, Pamela Sanderson, Brad Peters, Michael Lord, David D Segesta, John O'Donnell, Robert C. Jones, Jr., A.J. Stukenborg, Nathan Bailey, 4 unlisted -- (13 new donations total) DONORS FROM AUGUST: Sharon Mears, John Matthews, Patricia Barnum, Brian Travis, Sarah Franke, Dirk Doebereiner, James Wahler, Meredith Weaver, Stephen Moffett, Matthew Whitlock, Dan Litwin, Russell Kominski, Veronica Arnold, Michael Bayback, Ann & Todd Secoy (in memory of Julia Bitner), James Marranca, Kay Samalin, David Hyatt, Douglas Steinschneider, Lily Riker, Nicholas C. Beason, Mr. Marlin, Edward J. Krieger, Lynnette Thompson, 17 unlisted -- (41 total)

If a tax deduction is important you can get one by contributing to the educational outreach efforts of the Downsize DC Foundation. Contribute at the Foundation's secure contribution form.

 

Filed under Downsizer Dispatch, Health
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