Tag: "Health Savings Accounts"

Consumer-Driven Health Care Round Up

Lots going on in the Consumer-Driven space these days.

AHIP released its latest version of the annual HSA enrollment census. The results are impressive, though still understated since they only received responses from 71% of the companies. It finds enrollment growth of about 15% every year, now reaching 17.4 million. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is the state-by-state breakdown of market penetration. The old Red State/Blue State divide does not hold up when it comes to market behavior. Some of the states with low enrollment include Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina, while some of the highest enrollments are found in Minnesota, Illinois, and Maine.

AHIP also released, along with the American Bankers’ Association, a report on HSA account activity. One notable tidbit from this report is the size of the contributions, both personal and from employers. The average personal contribution in 2012 was $2,337, and the average employer contribution was $1,142. Also interesting is that only 19% of all the accounts had $0 balances at the end of the year, indicating that most people are retaining funds in their accounts at least for future use, if not for long-term savings.

Dr. Ben Carson has become a passionate advocate for HSAs, seeing them as a viable alternative to much of Obamacare. An op-ed he wrote has been widely circulated.

HSA Update: Assets in Health Savings Accounts Exceeded $20 Billion in January

Key findings from the Devenir Year-End 2013 HSA Survey:

  • Steady account and asset growth. HSA accounts rose to 10.7 million accounts, holding assets totaling $19.3 billion, a year over year increase of 25% for HSA assets and 30% for accounts for the period of December 31st, 2012 to December 31st, 2013.
  • More providers offering HSAs. In 2013 over 2,200 banks and credit unions offered health savings accounts.
  • HSA contributions continue to rise. Total contributions to HSA accounts from December 2012 to December 2013 were estimated to be $16.4 billion, with accountholders retaining about 24% of those contributions after distributions for medical expenses.
  • HSA investment dollars grow with help from strong market. HSA investment assets reached an estimated $2.3 billion in December, up 30% from the end of 2012. The average investment account holder has an $11,350 average total balance (deposit and investment account).

Hits and Misses

1-2-3-ribbonResearch suggests that in the Olympics, those who finish third are likely to be a lot happier than those who finish second.

Something I bet you didn’t know: The father of affirmative action (in the sense of racial preferences and quotas) was Richard Nixon.

There are almost 11 million Health Savings Accounts with well over $20 billion in assets.

Under EU rules Britain will add illegal drug sales and prostitution to its calculations of GDP.

The Uneasy Case for Wellness Programs, and Other Links

health-promotion-companiesAustin Frakt on Rand: Wellness programs don’t save money.

Feminists against the pill.

Female doctors make $50,000 less than male doctors.

The case for Health Savings Accounts.

Interactive map shows how your premiums will likely change under ObamaCare.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

Only 2 percent of E-prescribing alerts prompted any action from physicians during patient visits. Most alerts were “too much, too late.”

The marriage tax: Overturning DOMA could increase federal tax revenues by $1 billion a year.

Kaiser Health News tells you everything that can go wrong with a Health Savings Account.

Health Savings Accounts Grow

[T]he number of people who use HSAs and HRAs continues to climb, as do their contributions to the accounts, according to [EBRI]…

Forty-two percent of employees said they contributed at least $1,500 to an HSA last year, while just 15 percent said they made no contribution, the institute found…

Seventy percent of workers with an HSA or HRA said their employer contributed to their accounts, and the percentage of employers making contributions of more than $1,000 rose from 14 percent to 22 percent.

Sam Baker in The Hill.

Chemicals that Lead to More and Larger Fat Cells, and Other Links

Can a single drop of an endocrine-disrupting chemical cause us to be fat?

“[T]his is a president who still has not had Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton to dinner…

For the seemingly healthy, annual physicals provide no benefit.

European scientists building an artificial brain.

Health savings accounts grow to $15.5 billion in 2012.

Austin Frakt Endorses Health Savings Accounts, and Other Links

Austin Frakt endorses health savings accounts.

You can’t be CEO if you’re fat.

There is no nursing shortage.

There is no doctor shortage.

High Deductibles are More Common

The growing prevalence and amount of deductibles has resulted in an increasing percentage of covered workers enrolled in a plan with high deductibles. In 2012, about a third (34%) of covered workers were enrolled in a plan with a deductible of a $1,000 or more compared to 10% in 2006, and 14% were enrolled in a plan with a deductible of $2,000 or more compared to 3% in 2006. The percentages of workers include workers who are enrolled in a high deductible plans with a savings account (HDHP/SO), such as an HSA or an HRA, and those who are in a plan without a savings account.

Source: Kaiser Health News.

CDH Round Up

We haven’t reported on what is happening in the market for Consumer Driven Health in a while, so there is a lot to look at.

Blue Cross

We’ll start with a study by the Health Care Service Corporation (the Blue plans in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico) on the experience of their customers with their CDH plan, known as BlueEdge. Enrollment in BlueEdge has passed 1.5 million people this year and this study tracks them from before they entered the Consumer-Directed plans, which include both HSAs and HRAs.

A press release reports that BlueEdge enrollees –

  • Were four percent more likely to use preventive services.
  • Reduced overall utilization by 12 percent.
  • Were 10 percent more likely to use generic medications.
  • Spent 24 percent less on inpatient and 8 percent less on outpatient services.
  • Reduced hospital ER care by 12 percent.

These are changes in behavior by the same people before and after they joined the BlueEdge program. Unfortunately, the study itself is not available to the public, but a summary on the company web site reports that the reductions grew over time, dropping by 9.1% in the first year, but by 11.4% over three years.