NU Online News Service, Nov. 18, 8:25 a.m. – John Alden Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, a unit of Fortis Health, Milwaukee, which, in turn, is part of Fortis, Brussels, is starting a Medical Savings Account pilot program for employer groups with three to 50 employees.

John Alden will begin selling the small group MSAs today in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin, and it will put the first MSA pilot programs into effect Jan. 1, 2003.

The plans combine high-deductible medical insurance with tax-deferred Medical Saving Accounts that can be used to cover the cost of routine medical expenses. Healthy participants who have MSA assets left over at the end of the year can keep the assets in the plan until they retire without paying additional income taxes. Employees can also keep MSA assets if they leave the employer that sponsors the MSA plan.

Cost-conscious customers in Georgia, Illinois, Ohio and Texas can cut premiums 6% by buying MSA plans that exclude coverage for outpatient prescription drug coverage, John Alden says.

John Alden is distributing the plans through North Star Marketing, its national sales and distribution division.

John Alden is marketing the new plans by putting out a press release for each state where it will be selling them.