As the number of Americans covered by health savings account-eligible (HSA eligible) plans increases, insurance companies warn that some provisions of health care reform could limit the availability of the popular consumer-driven plans.
More than 11.4 million Americans are now covered by HSA-eligible health insurance policies, which feature a high deductible and an accompanying pre-tax savings account for out-of-pocket expenses. Unlike money in flexible spending accounts, which is forfeited if unused at the end of the year, the balances in health savings accounts (HSA) can be carried over from one year to the next.
The number of enrollees in HSA plans grew 14 percent in the last year and almost doubled over the last three years, according to the Association of Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
Health reform provisions could put HSAs at risk
However, some health care reform provisions could disrupt the availability HSA plans, AHIP said. The new rule that prohibits consumers from using HSA funds for over-the-counter medications without a prescription could provide an incentive to use higher-cost prescription drug alternatives.
Furthermore, because of the way they are structured, HSA plans may have difficulty meeting new medical loss ratio rules, which require a certain percentage of the insurance premium to go toward patient care and health care improvement. Additionally, depending on the level of coverage provided, health insurance plans must meet minimum actuarial values in 2014.