January 1, 2010

Q: Think its time you admit you made an error here? The growth of H.S.A. plans is astronomical.

A: MedSave.com no longer reports on the growth of HSA plans so the data you are referring to (assuming something we published) is likely out of date by now. We were one of the earliest promoters of HSAs and their precursor - known then as Medical Savings Accounts or MSAs. That was the original source of the company name and Newt Gingrich's office referred to MedSave.com as a leader in the industry in preparation for Congressional hearings in early 2004. We also supported independent projects like www.healthsavingsaccount-hsa.com and publications like the "Health Savings Accounts" series of audio recordings for employee benefit managers - but we are no longer active in this field. MedSave.com chose to focus on low cost health plans in 2006 and HSAs represent a relatively small part of that niche.

Health savings accounts, like all other approaches to manage today's health care issues, have both strengths and weaknesses. Our advisers and our Web site user experiences reflect both the benefits and the problems of HSA. Still, we enroll hundreds of people each year in HSA accounts.

Our most recent comments reported that the numbers of HSAs are growing in number partly for the wrong reasons - lack of choice. Some federal employees, for example, complain that they felt they were being pushed into HSAs in the beginning of 2006 when some would have preferred to stay with their former HMO plan. Since that date, the largest sector of growth in health plans has come from limited benefit health plans that will likely become more popular than HSAs. The limited benefit type plan has been more widely accepted in the private sector and with lower income employees Wal-mart, for example), while HSAs are more popular in the public sector and with executive level employees (including federal employees). We have no recent data on the trends of either type of health plan.

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