Protect and Improve Health Savings Accounts


 


Downsize DC's full-time employees have their own Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). These plans cover their health care expenses through a combination of major medical insurance and a tax free savings account.

Our employees . . .

  • Don't pay taxes on the money deposited into their HSAs, or on the interest they earn from that money.
  • Use debits card 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.
  • Retain the money in their HSAs whenever their annual expenses are less than the amount of their insurance deductible.
  • 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 tax free interest. 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 a questionable 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!

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 vs. 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!

Do the politicians really want to make health care better and cheaper, or do they just want to make more people dependent on THEM? Isn't it suspicious that their proposals would force patients, doctors, and health insurance companies to constantly come to Congress on bended knee, begging for favors, benefits, and protections?

Are we wrong to notice that increased government control will tend to create cushy jobs for retiring politicians, either as lobbyists, or as members of corporate boards in the health care industry?

Don't let the politicians scam you. 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: www.ehealthinsurance.com.

In addition, please use the form at right to send your Congressional employees a letter demanding that they protect Health Savings Accounts, and also expand and improve them. Here are some talking points you can use for your personal comments:

Talking Points

  • Congress should equalize the impact of taxes for those who buy their HSA-health insurance directly, versus those who get their insurance through their employer. Do this by expanding the amount of money that people can deposit into their HSAs. Make the HSA deposit limit similar to the tax-free benefits available through employer provided health insurance. Expand the HSA deposit limit to something like $8,000 for individuals, and $16,000 for families.
  • Give people more flexibility in how they manage their health care spending. Allow people to have HSAs with any kind of insurance policy they prefer, or even with no insurance at all. Laws mandating the kind of insurance people must have are a major reason insurance costs so much. Mandates are just a sneaky form of corporate welfare. Remove all government mandates on health insurance coverage!
  • Don't make HSAs a partisan issue. HSAs started out as an issue championed by Democrats, including Senator Tom Daschle and Representative Dick Gephart. Four of the six members of Congress who pushed for the first HSA legislation were Democrats. (Source: "Americas-Health-Care-Crisis-Solved"by J. Patrick Rooney & Dan Perrin, pg.76)
    Democrats must once again become promoters of HSAs, and Republicans must support them in doing so.
  • Politicians in Congress must not use envy to disparage HSAs. The fact that more affluent people will benefit from HSAs is no justification either for penalizing high income people, or for denying the benefits of expanded HSAs to low and middle income citizens. Americans do not exist to fund the government, the government exists to serve the people. Expanded and improved HSAs will benefit everyone.

Use the form at right to send your elected representatives a letter about this issue. It's easy!

  • Your position will be counted by each Congressional office,
  • Will educate the Congressional staffer who reads it,
  • May be passed up the chain of command,
  • May receive a reply (many DC Downsizers get them). If you receive such a letter, please share it with us at Comments@DownsizeDC.org.

Send a letter to Congress

We provide the first few words of the letter so that Congressional offices will see the most important point right at the start, and so that no one can hijack our system for another purpose. Here's the part we provide . . .

Pass no legislation that would harm Health Savings Accounts. Instead, pass legislation that would expand and improve them.
   
Your ZIP Code is required so we can direct your letter to your representatives in Congress.