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Life Health > Health Insurance > Health Insurance

HSA holders worried PPACA will take away control

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It’s no secret users of health savings accounts are, for the most part, cost-conscious. Research shows users tend to manage their money and health care behaviors more wisely, while keeping costs front-of-mind.

So it makes sense that, according to a new survey, HSA members are worried that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will increase their costs and move them away the forefront of their own health care.

Almost half of HSA account holders (46 percent) think PPACA will increase the overall cost of health insurance, while just 14 percent think it will decrease costs and 12 percent feel it will have no impact, a survey of 23,000 HSA members from Buck Consultants found.

Similarly, 46 percent believe their personal out-of-pocket medical costs will rise because of the law, while 13 percent believe it will cut their costs and 13 percent don’t think it will have an impact.

“HSA members’ concern about ACA-driven cost increases aligns with their heightened consumerism, since the top eight out of 11 actions that occurred after enrolling in an HSA involved saving, monitoring costs and shopping wisely,” said Ruth Hunt, a principal and health engagement leader for Buck Consultants. “HSA owners may fear the unknowns that could be out of their control versus their experience with HSAs.”

Buck Consultants found that 42 percent of respondents said they remain undecided as to whether they will obtain health insurance on exchanges, while 35 percent of respondents are unlikely to do so, and 23 percent likely will.

Overall, the survey — out Wednesday — again vindicated an insight proponents of health savings accounts have long argued: those with HSAs are more active in managing their health.

More than half of respondents, 51 percent, set aside more money for potential medical costs than before they had HSAs. Twenty-nine percent have more discussions with their doctors about the cost of care and 13 percent more actively manage their chronic disease

“HSA members are making wiser health care decisions,” said Travis Klavohn, director, consumer health solutions of BenefitWallet. “They’re evaluating costs more closely before receiving care, shopping for lower-priced drugs and choosing less costly services. They attribute their changed behavior to owning an HSA.”

Respondents indicated greater engagement with each of 11 health management activities measured.

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