Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'HSA' Category

Does comparison shopping work in health care?

According to a recent study in JAMA, the answer may be no.  High-deductible health plans aim to not only reduce the use of unnecessary services, but to make consumers more price sensitive and search for high quality, low priced care.  The latter goal, however, depends crucially on whether patients have access to information on accurate […]

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ASSA 2016: How do high-deductible health plans affect spending levels?

Are high deductible health plans (HDHP) the holy grail for reducing cost? If so, how do consumers go about reducing cost, by reducing all utilization or shopping around for better prices? This is the research question that Ben Handel presented at 2016 ASSA meetings. He uses data from a large firm with 35,000-60,000 employees and […]

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Health Insurance for Part Time Workers

The goal of LyfeBank is basically to serve as a 401(k) for health insurance.  Employers can make contributions to the employees health insurance into a fund and workers can use this money to buy various health insurance products, reimburse themselves for co-payments or deductibles, or pay for medical costs directly. LyfeBank has two key innovations.  The […]

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California’s Current Health Insurance Market

The California Healthcare Foundation looks at the latest health insurance trends in the nation’s most populous state. In California, like in many states, there is a blurring line between what defines an HMO compared to other forms of health insurance.  Almost all insurance carriers now offer “a broad array of products, some of which do not […]

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Are HSAs the solution to health care reform?

Many economists feel that Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are the direction in which health reform needs to head. HSAs combine high-deductible health plans with tax-deferred savings account. The theory behind HSAs is for the patient to pay for ‘basic’ health care to reduce the problem of moral hazard while letting insurance pay for catestrophic illnesses. […]

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Federal Health Care Regulation: Taxation

Today we will discuss how the tax code affects health care. Tax exemption of employer-provided health insurance. “In 1943, the Internal Revenue Service (ruled) that employees could exclude the value of employer-paid health insurance premiums from their taxable income. In 1954, Congress excluded by statute the value of employer-purchase health insurance from gross income.” To […]

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Adverse Selection in Action

For individuals who have recently lost their job, Carolyn’s Blog advises them how to get health insurance coverage. “Unless you have a pre-existing condition you should only stick with COBRA until you find a private health insurance plan.  Believe it or not, if you go with a High Deductible Health Care Plan (HDHP) for a […]

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HRAs vs. HSAs

On Friday I posted on Consumer Driven Health Care.  These consumer driven health plans (CDHPs) involve individuals having direct discretion about how health care dollars are spent.  If you are interested in CDHP, there may still be some confusion over which H?A you prefer.  Is a HRA (Health Reimbursement Account or Health Reimbursement Arrangement) or […]

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CDHPs and Small Business

Consumer directed health plans (CDHP) seem like an attractive option for small businesses. CDHPs utilize high deductible health plans (HDHP) making patients pay more money out of pocket. Because of this, insurance premiums are lower. These HDHPs can be linked to Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) or Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Since small businesses do not […]

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Health Insurance: Why rent when you could own?

Devon M. Herrick writes an article (“Why rent…“) creating a clever analogy comparing HSAs to equity in a house. He likens traditional health insurance to renting a home, while having a Health Savings Account (HSA) is more like owning the home. Making contributions to HSAs in essence gives you “equity” towards future health care expenses. […]

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