WASHINGTON, DC – Support may be growing for the notion that the expansion of Health Savings Accounts can provide a “creative solution” to the Congressional dilemma on how to repeal and replace Obamacare, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
Weber, who is a long-time proponent of strengthening HSAs, says that it is a “top of the list” proposal in the House, Senate and the administration. He should know. Weber has been campaigning for what he calls “The People’s HSA” for several years now as a new way to look at health care in the U.S.
“We need to encourage innovative thinking among our lawmakers. It’s a wonder to me that they haven’t put more of a focus on using beefed up HSAs as an elegant, non-controversial means of delivering health services. After all, it provides several tax breaks for users. The money they put into their HSAs is tax-deductible, the use of the money for medical expenses are not taxed and the funds can be invested and grows free of taxation,” Weber notes.
The popularity of HSAs has grown at a quickening pace ever since 2003 when the Bush Administration first introduced the tax-advantaged program. More than 20 million people have opened HSA accounts as of the beginning of 2017 and their contributions amount to some $41 billion. Some forecasts expect 20% growth in the popularity of Health Savings Plans in 2018.
Weber advocates a variety of ways for improving the HSA law, including the ability to use plan funds to pay for insurance premiums. He says that adjustments to the law would make HSAs even more popular going forward and perhaps providing a way to create a totally new and comprehensive health care platform. And, he is aggressively encouraging Congress to consider AMAC’s out-of-the-box approach.
He explains: “The People’s HSA is a simple way to replace the various parts of Obamacare with an improved health care delivery system. It allows an individual or group to obtain a complete package of medical care and insurance by purchasing this modified Health Savings Account that would be sold by qualified agents from the private sector who would counsel each person individually as to the choices available to them, thus assuring a smooth transition. Under Obamacare you are responsible for co-pays and deductibles and you are forced to pay high premiums for insurance. The People’s HSA would provide for visits to a local doctor with no out of pocket expense. Deductibles would be paid for out of the savings portion of the HSA eliminating the financial burden in event of a major operation.”
Direct Primary Care is already the fastest growing segment in the health care marketplace, he points out. Local doctors charge a monthly fee, typically around $100 per month and allow their patients to go directly to them without insurance or government involvement. The People’s HSA would distribute payments to those doctors to provide care.
“Low income individuals and families would be covered utilizing government subsidies. And, those who can’t afford to pay for an HSA, our proposal calls for the establishment of what we call Pro Bono Care under which doctors would treat needy patients for free. We conducted a survey and found that some 350,000 doctors and nurse practitioners would be willing to participate in the Pro Bono Care program. If each one took 20 patients, that’s 7 million needy people who would be covered,” Weber adds.