NU Online News Service, Jan. 2, 2004, 1:50 p.m. EST – Fortis Health, Milwaukee, says it has sold an individual medical Health Savings Account policy to Pamela Wimbush, a self-employed furniture wholesaler who lives in Aurora, Ill.[@@]

Fortis Health, which is selling HSA products for individuals and small groups through its Fortis Insurance Company and John Alden Life Insurance Company units, says it believes that the Wimbush policy might be the first HSA policy sold in the United States.

A section at the end of the new Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 makes HSAs available to taxpayers who buy high-deductible health insurance. Taxpayers can exclude contributions to HSAs from taxable income and spend the HSA assets on qualified health expenses, including COBRA premiums and long term care insurance premiums, without paying income taxes on the distributions.

The top contribution limit in 2004 will be $2,600 for individuals and $5,150 for families.

Fortis Health is a unit of Fortis, Brussels.