A Guide to Health Savings Accounts, and a Plea for Practicality
Posted: 6 Feb 2004
In this article, the authors describe certain interpretive issues raised by the newly enacted HSA rules, and make suggestions as to how these issues can be resolved by the IRS in a manner that supports the legislative goals underlying these new rules and helps ensure that HSAs will be successful. Their principal suggestion is that the IRS must interpret the HSA rules in a way that is consistent with common practice (and common sense) for health care plans. While the HSA rules clearly do require high-deductible health plans, the HSA rules do not require that insurers and employers change the core mechanics of their health plans in ways that will make HSAs unattractive to most people. If the IRS goes beyond merely requiring an increase in deductibles and requires other changes to the way health plans operate, the authors submit that HSAs will not be broadly accepted by consumers in the marketplace and financial institutions are unlikely to even offer HSA accounts.
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