Brokers Critica To The Spread Of HSAs
By Donad P. Sacco
Benefits brokers shoud be in a great position to capitaize on the shift toward heath savings accounts and HSA-compatibe high-deductibe heath pans.
The HDHP/HSA market is experiencing a remarkabe wave of growth.
The authors of a 2004 study by Mercer Human Resource Consuting ..C. found that more than 70% of the empoyers surveyed said they might set up HDHP/HSA programs by 2006.
Because most empoyers buy their heath coverage through brokers or consutants, chances are these representatives wi be invoved with estabishing most of the new HDHP/HSA programs.
Brokers who want to profit from the rise of the HDHP/HSA programs shoud understand the goas of the HDHP/HSA egisation; recognize how much fexibiity they have to modify HSA heath pan design; and know ways to make HSAs as easy as possibe for empoyees to use.
Brokers can start by comparing the goas behind the HDHP/HSA egisation with the goas of benefit pan members.
When awmakers enacted the HDHP/HSA section of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, they wanted to:
Provide more affordabe premiums.
Create financia incentives for weness and prudent use of heath care services.
Estabish tax-advantaged savings for famiies and individuas.
Now, consider what most consumers want in their heath coverage:
Affordabiity of premiums.
Predictabiity in coverage for routine, recurring expenses.
Protection against the financia consequences of catastrophic iness or injury.
Interestingy, the awmakers goas and consumers goas are compementary. That offers creative brokers and heath carriers an opportunity to provide meaningfu HDHP/HSA coverage with a high degree of member satisfaction.
An HDHP/HSA program can hep reduce premiums in 2 ways: It owers a pans caim costs by reducing outays on members routine heath care costs, and reuctance to pay unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses typicay causes consumers to be more carefu about the way they make decisions about the use of heath care services.