I haven’t actually kept any statistics, but a lot (maybe half) of our Colorado health insurance clients that I talk to with HSA qualified high deductible health insurance plans haven’t opened up a health savings account to go with it. They usually say they got the plan because it was just one of the cheapest options of plans available in Colorado that still covered catastrophic risks really well. Many of them say that it’s still so expensive that they can barely afford to pay the premium, let alone put extra money into an HSA.
On the Schwitzer health news blog, I found a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 272 people enrolled in “consumer-driven” health plans. It shows that half of them say they would switch off the plans if they had the chance.
The Washington Post gives a description and commentary on the survey:
“More than 60 percent of people in the plans said it is hard to find good information about the cost of doctors’ services and hospital care; and about 50 percent said information on quality of care is hard to come by. Half of those enrolled in the plans said they would switch out if given the choice, compared with a third of those in traditional plans. And they were twice as likely as those in traditional plans to say that they went without care because of cost.
Gail Shearer, director of health policy analysis at Consumers Union, noted that the survey found that people in the new plans tend to be wealthier, healthier and more educated than their counterparts in traditional plans, and were more likely to be white.
“Instead of our health system moving towards one where we’re all in this together, this type of option is leading to more splitting the population into different segments and, to me, that’s an unhealthy thing,” Shearer said. She added that poorer, sicker consumers could get left behind.”
Most of our Colorado health insurance clients that have HSA qualified plans, but don’t fund a health savings account are still happy with the health insurance plan itself because of the savings in premium and have no desire to go back to a traditional copay plan. However, if you’ve purchased an HSA qualified plan and have contributed to a health savings account, then decide you want to go back to a traditional plan, don’t worry – you can still switch back. If you switch to a non-HSA qualified health insurance plan, you can’t contribute to the health savings account anymore but you can just keep the health savings account open and draw from it when you have future medical expenses.
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