Monday, October 26, 2009

Not Every HSA is a Alike

I forgot to mention an important fact about health savings accounts. They’re not all alike, and the differences between many the plans that are offered may determine if people will actually benefit from this insurance innovation.

Surely the most significant difference in HSA-high deductible plans is whether or not the health care plan includes preventive health care such as annual checkups, pap smears and mammograms as part of the deductible. These routine exams help to find and prevent serious illness, but if they are part of the deductible, employees in the HSA have to pay for them, up to the high deductible limit. If they are not part of the deductible, they are covered 100% by the health plan, meaning that employees are more likely to go to the doctor for these important exams and thus more likely to remain healthy.

Our studies show that participants in HSA-high deductible plans in which preventive care is not part of the deductible receive preventive treatment at rates that are equivalent to or higher than people in traditional plans. In fact, people in HSA plans are:
  • 16% more likely to get cervical or prostate cancer screening
  • 20% to 40% more likely to get important tests for their condition if they are heart patients
  • 15% more likely to have important diabetes tests, if a diabetic.

Another survey, this one by the Wellpoint Institute of Health Care Knowledge, shows that men, who typically lag in the use of preventive care, are more than twice as likely as women to increase their use of preventive care once in an HSA plan.

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