Think twice before enrolling in HSA



NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- If your employer is tempting you with a high-deductible health plan in exchange for a health savings account, make sure you know what you're getting into.

Many employers are now offering high-deductible health plans that are often paired with tax-advantaged health savings accounts. Contributions to these HSAs are tax-deductible, and the accounts grow tax-free. The deal sounds attractive because the money spent on medical expenses is not taxed.

But a survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute reveals that people enrolled in HSA health plans are more likely to spend a significant amount of money on out-of-pocket health-care expenses than those who opt for traditional coverage. What's worse, they also tend to delay or skip health care altogether due to high costs.

In order to actually save money with HSAs, consumers must have access to reliable estimations of cost and comparative information on providers. In reality, this information is often scarce.

So who benefits from HSAs? The healthy and wealthy. Young, healthy workers who don't spend a lot on medical care reap the rewards, as do wealthier people of all ages. (The higher their tax bracket is, the more valuable their tax break.) Employers also take advantage of HSAs because they are able to pass health-care costs to their employees.

Consumer Reports suggests opting for traditional comprehensive coverage if you can. You will feel better -- those enrolled in HSAs reported less satisfaction than their traditionally covered counterparts.


MarketWatch via NewsEdge Corporation :




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