January 14, 2019
Your Weekly HSA News
Read the latest news about Health Savings Accounts and consumer-driven health care.
News from Washington
Trump, Congress Break Record for Longest Shutdown
The partial government shutdown is now officially the longest funding lapse in modern history, surpassing a 21-day record set during the Clinton administration. The infamous distinction comes as the shutdown shows no signs of progress toward resolving the protracted fight.

Democrats' Health Care Ambitions Meet the Reality of Divided Government
In her first speech as speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi made it clear that she knows that health care is key to why voters sent Democrats to Congress. But now that Democrats control the House, their ambitions are meeting up with reality.

GOP Seeks Health Care Reboot After 2018 Losses
Republicans are looking for a new message and platform to replace their longtime call to repeal and replace Obamacare, after efforts failed in the last Congress and left them empty-handed in the 2018 midterm elections.

HSA Studies & Analysis
How Well Do Employees Understand and Engage with Their Health Accounts?
Willis Towers Watson set out to assess how employees are using their HSAs and FSAs in order to gauge their understanding of how these accounts work and the degree to which they are maximizing their advantages. The data provide some insights as to how employees are using and managing their health accounts.

Workers with High Deductibles Curb Health Care Spending
Employees enrolled in HDHPs are more likely than enrollees in traditional plans to consider health care cost and quality when selecting nonemergency care, according to the 14th annual Consumer Engagement in Health Care survey report, released in December by EBRI and Greenwald & Associates.

The HSA Market
With HSA Changes, Here's How to Find the Best Option for Clients
Are your clients in the plan that will maximize returns on their investment? It may be difficult to tell. HSA brokers aren’t publicly disclosing information needed to determine which HSA plan will be most lucrative, according to a recent Morningstar report.

HSAs & Retirement
Why Clients Should Consider an HSA Account
75 percent of a retiree’s expenses are due to healthcare. The problem is, when monies are distributed from 401(k)s and IRAs, they are taxable to the recipient. To add insult to injury, medical expenses are subject to a percentage of adjusted gross income and will most likely not be deductible. But an HSA is different.

What to Do if You Don’t Want Medicare Just Yet
Having any type of Medicare disallows continued tax-deductible HSA contributions. This includes receiving any type of Social Security benefit, because the law says that people on Social Security must have Part A of Medicare. You do not need to notify Medicare of your intention not to get Medicare.

Maximizing Your HSA
Using an HSA to Pay Long-Term-Care Premiums
Yes, you can use money from your HSA tax-free to pay your long-term-care insurance premiums, with the maximum annual tax-free amount based on your age. Most traditional long-term-care insurance policies qualify. If you’re not sure, ask your insurer if your policy is “tax-qualified.”

Consumer-Driven Health Care
Her Insurer’s Price Tool Estimated Less Than $1,375 for a Breast MRI. Then She Got a Bill for $3,200.
UnitedHealthcare’s price estimator told Michelle Smith that the cost for the breast MRI her doctor ordered in her area ranged from $783 to $1,375. So Smith was shocked when her share of the bill — from a facility that the tool suggested — came to $3,237.

Hospitals Vary in Publishing CMS Chargemaster Prices
Price transparency stumbled out of the gate last week as hospitals complied with a new CMS requirement to publish their lengthy list of retail charges for individual services and diagnosis-related groups in online spreadsheets by the first of the year. Some hospitals posted a link to their charges right on their home pages. Most others posted the data deeper inside their websites.

Verma: Chargemaster Rule Is 'First Step' to Price Transparency
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said on January 10 that the agency is working to improve a new rule requiring hospitals to post chargemaster prices on their websites after experts said the data wouldn't help consumers. Verma maintained the requirement is an "important first step" to increase price transparency.

Prescription Drug Costs Driven by Manufacturer Price Hikes, Not Innovation
The skyrocketing cost of many prescription drugs in the U.S. can be blamed primarily on price increases, not expensive new therapies or improvements in existing medications as drug companies frequently claim, a new study shows.

Why a ‘Passive’ Health Approach Can Produce the Most Action
Some in Congress say financial incentives will lead to healthful choices, but having more choices can be problematic when so many Americans are busy and stressed.

Starting from $0: Help Employees Minimize Health Costs Pre-Deductible
For many people, January is a fresh new beginning. In the health insurance world, it is the proverbial “reset button” on meeting your deductible. The stress of meeting deductibles is real. So we thought this would be a good time to share some ideas that could help employees better manage out-of-pocket expenses.

Drugmaker Eli Lilly to Start Publishing List Prices of Drugs
Drugmaker Eli Lilly began posting price information online for drugs it advertises on TV on January 8. The company began running TV ads for Trulicity, a popular diabetes drug, which don’t give price info but direct viewers to a new website or a toll-free telephone number where they can learn about the list price, average out-of-pocket costs and patient assistance programs.

Connect with us
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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