February 4, 2019
Your Weekly HSA News
Read the latest news about Health Savings Accounts and consumer-driven health care.
News from Washington
Trump Accepts Pelosi's Offer to Deliver State of the Union at the Capitol on February 5
President Donald Trump will deliver his State of the Union address in the U.S. Capitol on February 5. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to the president on January 28 formally inviting him to deliver the speech before a joint session of Congress. Trump quickly accepted the invitation.

Congress in Painful Start to Avoid Second Shutdown
Negotiations to avert a partial government shutdown are off to a painfully slow start. The gang of 17 lawmakers tasked with navigating the political minefield to any potential deal met for the first time week, but there are a few signs a deal will be forthcoming as Congress heads into week two of the tight three-week time frame.

Congress Takes on Unexpected Medical Bills, Sparking industry Turf War
A bipartisan fix for surprise medical bills that are socking even well-insured Americans could be one of the few issues uniting Democrats and Republicans this year, but only if lawmakers find a way to contend with competing factions of the health industry, none of whom want to pick up the entire tab.

Congress Wades Into Emotional Debate Over High-Cost Prescription Drugs
Senators railed against pharmaceutical executives on January 29 for declining to testify before Congress about out-of-control drug prices, as lawmakers on both sides of the U.S. Capitol kicked off investigations sure to rattle one of the nation’s most powerful industries.

Trump Administration Proposes Big Changes in How Prescription Drugs Are Priced
The Trump administration proposed bringing transparency to one of the most secretive aspects of drug pricing by ending the widespread practice of rebates to middlemen — an effort to reduce what consumers pay for prescription medicine.

HSA Compliance Corner
Preventive Prescriptions
Since HSA-qualified plans were launched in 2004, insurers have had the option to cover select preventive care outside the deductible. But there is a problem. Medical services have unique codes. Prescription drugs don't have unique codes that vary with the reason for the prescription.

HSA Industry News
Medica Taps Medsurety to Power HSA Solutions for Its Individual and Family Members
Medsurety and Medica have announced a new partnership to further enhance Medica’s HSA offerings. As a result of the partnership, Medsurety will be handling Medica’s Individual and Family HSA administration.

A Community Bank Links Its Fortunes to the Rising Cost of Health Care
Quietly, a small community bank has found a way to profit from the HSA trend. Webster Financial Corp. of Waterbury, CT specializes in small-business loans and residential mortgages, issuing credit cards and other standard stuff. But it's also the country's second-largest administrator of HSAs.

The HSA Market
Out With the Old
For many employers, it might feel like switching from a high premium plan to an HDHP would disappoint employees or feel like a decrease in coverage, but in some cases, Roberts says, employees could end up paying less. The monetary savings gathered from a shift in health plans to an HDHP paired with an HSA typically comes from overall health care spend.

HSAs Give Asset Managers Distribution Outlet for In-House Funds
As HSAs get more popular, it's no surprise asset managers and retirement plan record keepers are debuting products to jump on the bandwagon. These firms appeal to advisers looking to simplify services for retirement-plan clients by bundling 401(k) and HSA administration. But there's an additional benefit: using their platforms to distribute proprietary investment funds.

HSAs & Retirement
Tying HSAs to Retirement Savings
A key problem with promoting HSAs as a retirement savings vehicle is that they are tied to medical benefits, and so that’s how participants think about them, says Kelley Long, a CFP with Financial Finesse. She shared information on a recent webinar to help employers promote HSAs as a retirement savings tool for employees.

HSA vs. 401(k): Help Your Employees Win the Battle for Account Funding
When an employer offers both a 401(k) and an HDHP with an HSA, ideally employees will contribute to both accounts. In reality, many will pick one account over the other. it may seem as if the best option is to maximize their 401(k) match first, and then fund the HSA with any additional available money. But let’s think that through.

Medicare and HSAs: Don’t Get Caught in the Dark
Are you approaching age 65? Does everyone need to enroll in Part A and Part B at age 65? No! In fact, if you're contributing to a HSA, Medicare enrollment can be a liability. Let’s shed some light on what you need to know before enrolling.

Maximizing Your HSA
7 Reasons an HSA Should Be Your Favorite Investing Account
HSAs are a dramatic improvement over Archer MSAs, HRAs, and FSAs. Many investors do not realize that an HSA is, in many ways, their best investing account. It is particularly useful for the high-income professional.

Being Savvy with HSAs and Consumer Driven Healthcare
While choosing healthcare options may not be as simple as purchasing a car, consumers (i.e. your employees) have more options than they might think when it comes to deciding how they spend their healthcare funds — especially if they have an HSA.

Consumer-Driven Health Care
A Fainting Spell After a Flu Shot Leads to $4,692 ER Visit
Matt Gleason fainted at work after getting a flu shot, so colleagues called 911 and an ambulance took him to the ER. Eight hours later, Gleason went home with a clean bill of health. Later still he got a hefty bill that wiped out his deductible.

Lifting the Veil on Prices Is Key to Lowering Healthcare Costs
Readily available procedure pricing may be the key to reducing healthcare costs in the country, according to new research from the University of Michigan. The average prices of an MRI and CT scans in the United States are $1,200 and $228––more than double the amount in other developed countries.

Portsmouth Business Offers Medical Cost-Comparison Tool
A Portsmouth business owner is hoping to drive down the price of outpatient medical procedures with his cost comparison tool. Mark Galvin, the creator of MyMedicalShopper, came up with the concept five years ago. Galvin said he began to get frustrated with the lack of transparency in costs for health care, both as an employer and consumer.

Medicare Chief Tells Philly Conference: Patients Must Be Part of Controlling Health Care Costs
Patients should work to rein in health-care costs by demanding accountability and transparency from hospitals and physicians, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a keynote address at the Wharton Health Care Business Conference at the Union League in Philadelphia.

Apple Watch, Using Aetna Client Data, Wants to Help You Be Healthy
Aetna said it is working with Apple Inc. on a new health app for Apple Watches that uses an individual’s medical history to set personalized health goals. Called “Attain,” the Apple Watch app will reward Aetna customers for meeting activity goals and fulfilling recommended tasks, such as getting vaccinations or refilling medications, with a subsidy toward the cost of an Apple Watch or gift cards for U.S. retailers.

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Our goal is to provide you with easy to understand information and resources about HSAs. We will help you learn how to best use your account to meet your particular health care and financial needs. We’ll also help you find out what medical expenses can be paid from your HSA and how to choose the best HSA to meet your financial goals.

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