Current legislature sitting in Congress – including the American Health Care Act – indicates favorable changes for health savings accounts (HSAs).
Since the new Congress began in January, there have been more than 20 bills proposed that impact consumer-directed healthcare (CDH), and more specifically HSAs. In May, the House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
A new report from HSA Bank provides insight into specific impacts on HSAs and consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) outlined in the American Health Care Act (AHCA), as well as examines the other proposed legislation.
“Whether they get passed or not, I don’t expect that to have a negative impact on HSAs,” Chad Wilkins, executive vice president and head of HSA Bank, told ThinkAdvisor. “We’ll continue to see that kind of growth going forward. And if they do get passed, we’ll see more wind at the back of high-deductible health plans and HSAs.”
HSAs, which can be as much a retirement savings vehicle as a health care financing plan, have grown in popularity recently.
The number of people enrolled in HSAs continues to grow, although more slowly than in previous years. According to America’s Health Insurance Plan report, 20.2 million U.S. residents were covered through HSA-compatible, individual, small-group or large-group plans in 2016.
A Fidelity analysis shows a surge in health savings account in the third quarter of last year.
Wilkins, who co-authored the report with Kevin Robertson, senior vice president and chief revenue officer, attributes the growth in HSAs to both the cost standpoint for employers offering plans, as well as the cost savings for individuals both today and in retirement.
And he predicts this growth and popularity will continue to expand – despite what happens in Congress.
“There’s been a lot of changes in legislators over the past 10 years and HSAs have stayed relatively stable in that world,” Wilkins said.
The report provides insight into the six specific impacts on HSAs and CDH plans outlined in AHCA, as passed by the House, with a focus on how they will positively impact individuals’ ability to own their health.
The top-ranking Democrat on the Senate side of the Joint Economic Committee, though, has said expanding the health savings account program would do little to help ordinary Americans cope with cuts in Affordable Care Act coverage expansion programs.
According to Robertson, these impacts “focus on expanding access to health savings accounts and CDH plans for Americans.”
1. Raises HSA contribution limits to the high deductible health plan (HDHP) out-of-pocket maximum.
The current 2017 HSA contribution limits are $3,400 for a single plan and $6,750 for a family plan. The proposed 2018 contribution limits would increase that to $6,550 for a single plan and $13,100 for a family plan.