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Health Savings Accounts Are Off The Grid For Texas State Workers

Texas House Bill 1766 was created to offer Health Savings Accounts to state workers for the first time. According to Andy Homer, the director of government relations for the Texas Public Employees Association, Health Savings Accounts would bring no benefit for his membership. He remains adamant that Health Savings Accounts are only used as a political tool. Not surprisingly, the bill didn’t make it out of the committee, but exactly what do Health Savings Accounts offer?

They have been one of the fastest growing options in the private health insurance sector for years. In general, there’s been a growing movement away from the most expensive coverage options toward plans with the least expensive premiums emaemj.org. Those plans are typically high-deductible plans. Certain high-deductible policies can be coupled with a Health Savings Account (HSA). This option has been a money saver for employers, including small business owners, because it eats up less profit. HSA Plans are also often less expensive for employees because employers tend to shift the rising cost for premiums back to the employees.

Health Savings Accounts Are Already Used For State Employees

Indiana, for example, has used HSA Plans for state employees for some time. After five years of implementation, Governor Mitch Daniels called his HSA Plan program a success for the state employees and the state government. Proponents of HSA Plans say they definitely curb out-of-pocket costs for state employees, and studies have shown a distinct drop in health care services during the first year that policyholders try a high-deductible health plan.

Opponents say that discouraging preventive health care is suicide for society. Why pay “through the nose” for ER interventions when earlier preventive health care lowers medical costs and increases productivity by keeping people well? The proponents of health care reform acted on that warning and in all but four states, high-deductible health plans now pay for preventive health care before the deductible has been met. There are certain stipulations to that coverage, though.

Preventive care is almost always only fully covered when obtained through in-network providers. Doctors can bill separately for an office appointment if they do more than provide covered preventive health care. In that case, people may have to pay for at least part of the doctor appointment.

Florida is one of the states that has filed a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act challenging the constitutionality of the mandate to get minimal health coverage. While some politicians seem to think they are experts on how to fix health care, what do physicians have to say about this?

In an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, physicians say that the FL health insurance mandate and a similar mandate for every state is the only way to expand health care access to the public and keep health care costs from increasing. According to Dr. Edward Miller, dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, policymakers and as well as the judiciary should never lose sight of the patients. The overall health and wellness of patients greatly depends on access to health care. Dr. Miller also says it is very necessary to straighten out the system, and the Florida health care mandate is one key to do that.

Miller views the mandate as being critical to halt “free riding” where people who can’t afford Fl health insurance coverage, or even those who can and prefer someone else pay for their care, stop shifting the cost of their health care to someone else. Unpaid medical bills are sometimes mitigated by raising prices for those who are insured. When insurers pay higher prices, they pass the increase in costs back to policyholders in the form of higher premiums. It’s a vicious and apparently unending cycle, but spreading the cost equally across society may be the only way to help. It’s how all other developed nations are doing it.

Since trying to ignore that people who can’t afford to see a doctor for low-cost preventive care end up in the emergency room for the most expensive form of health care hasn’t worked for decades, physicians just might have a point. In a report by the Department of Health and Human Resources, uncompensated health care in the U.S. is up to approximately $73 billion, which has resulted in an annual $1,000 increase in insurance premiums. Miller said that the mandate can reduce the uncompensated care level and reduce passing the costs to those of us buying FL health coverage.

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