NU Online News Service, Jan. 20, 2004, 12:31 p.m. EST – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Eagan, Minn., says it already has products suitable for customers who want health savings accounts.[@@]

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 lets qualified individuals, families and employers who buy high-deductible health plans exclude HSA contributions from taxable income.

Some insurers still have to develop high-deductible health plans that meet the HSA program requirements, but Minnesota Blue began selling health plans suitable for use with HSAs Jan. 1. The company says it already has HSA products on the shelf because it began selling high-deductible health plans for groups and individuals before President Bush signed the MPDIMA.

A Minnesota Blue affiliate, MII Life Inc., is licensed and equipped to administer HSAs and other interest-bearing accounts, the company adds.

Customers who already have Archer Medical Savings Accounts can keep their MSAs, but the HSA program will replace the MSA program for customers who want to set up new, MSA-type health coverage arrangements, Minnesota Blue says.