Archive for the ‘HSAs’ Category

HSAs - Handsome Subsidies for the Affluent???

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

I hate to keep picking on Joe Paduda’s blog and his thoughts, but here is another example of just how far off Joe can be on www.joepaduda.com. In his recent post, Joe states the following:

“I (and others) have long opined that HSAs are thinly-disguised tax breaks for the well-to-do. Touted as a solution to the growing number of the uninsured and cited as the plan of choice for the newly-insured, HSAs have been the darling of the conservative think-tank set.”

He also writes the following:

“The article notes that the “biggest beneficiaries” of health savings accounts “are proving to be well-to-do investors looking for another way to fund their retirement savings.”

My company offers an HSA plan to all of our Full –Time employees. As I have said on this blog before, a single employee only pays a net of $31 a month in premium, which of course is one of the benefits of the HSA. The trade off for lower premiums is that the policy holder has to pay a high deduction, $2,500 prior to any financial coverage kicking in for the calendar year. For example, every Jan 1 all of my employee’s deduction starts over and they must meet the $2,500 threshold before the plan kicks in paying on medical bills. They do receive PPO discounts on the first $2,500, but these are first dollars out of their pockets.

This is where the actual HSA account comes to play. Each of our employees holds a MasterCard and or checks to be used to pay for the $2,500 deductible. Thus, many of our employees get into a cycle to where they never have to pay out of their normal assets for medical care. Instead, they have saved money in the HSA account, (We, the employer deposit money in their HSA account along with the employee) to pay for their expenses. Once the $2,500 has been met, the insurance plan pays 100% of any medical expenses including pharmacy.

In reality the HSA plans are better than a traditional 80/20 plan. As a single employee, you know in our company that the most you will spend out of pocket in a year is $2,500. Under an 80/20 plan like so many have, a $30,000 hospital and related expenses bill will mean the employee would pay $6,000 out of pocket. The HSA is a better deal.

So, how can HSAs be a disguised tax break for the well to do? I have no idea. Our employees with health insurance range from employees that make below 20K a year to ones that do very well. I don’t know of any employee of our company that believes HSAs are for their retirement. Come on Joe, the HSA money is for medical expenses, not retirement. Real companies that have HSAs know they are a good deal for all.

Healthcare Blogs And Their Liberal Point of View

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

I have been reading a lot of blogs today regarding the overall healthcare debate. Most of what I read on the Internet tends to be from a Liberal point of view. I think all views should be heard, but it is interesting that Liberals are so very angry over this topic, and seem to post in a disproportionate volume compared to Conservative views. Granted, that is just my anecdotal observation, but it does seem one sided. Also, these sites can’t seem to help themselves in throwing in comments about their anti Iraq war feelings on a healthcare post. I still have not figured that one out.

All of this reading has me thinking about my own employees and their various situations. Our employees pay a net of $31 a month for individual healthcare insurance from a major carrier. Every employer can afford the same type of insurance we offer if they choose to. Obviously some of them simply choose to not offer the benefit. In other cases, we have employees that just decide they don’t want healthcare insurance. That is their choice (at least for now). Either way, it really makes me wonder why the whole issue of the uninsured has to be so complicated.

I would like to see everyone have to buy insurance coverage. I just think it makes sense for the greater good of us all. By itself, that one factor would help control costs for all Americans. If any American can afford a cell phone and cable bill combined, they can buy health insurance. If they can’t afford both, then get rid of the cell phone and cable, the health insurance is more important. Also, I don’t have a problem with Employers being mandated to offer insurance to its employees, with help to small businesses from the government. Yet, I would prefer that employers pay into a pool based on employee size and all American’s purchase insurance on their own, just like they do car insurance.

I guess my bottom line here from reading all the post today is this. Too many people want the government to run healthcare. That is one major mistake if we go down that road. The people that tend to want this who post on the blogs believe incorrectly that all the problems in healthcare go away with government intervention. If only they had a larger thought capability and realized it would make things much much worse. So, keep the government out of my life as much as possible, but a proper role for government would be to help make sure that all Americans have access or help in purchasing private insurance.

My individual employees pay $31 net for great coverage. Can someone please fill me in on how an employer or employee can’t afford this?