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News of the Day ... in Perspective


Insurers ready to offer Health Savings Accounts

At least two of the nation’s biggest insurers are ready to seize the opportunity to offer Health Savings Accounts: Aetna and UnitedHealth Group, which recently purchased Golden Rule Insurance Company, a medical savings account pioneer.

Aetna plans to add 100,000 subscribers to the 45,000 it currently has in high-deductible plans that include savings accounts.

The new accounts are also expected to attract new competitors, including life insurance and property-casualty companies, 401(k) retirement administrators, and start-up ventures, stated Charles Boorady, a securities analyst at Smith Barney.

Some Wall Street analysts view the new consumer-driven plans as a “threat to the existing health care system.”

See Milt Freudenheim, The New York Times, 12/9/03.

Additional information:

HSAs are much better than the MSAs passed in 1996, which were strangled with regulations. “HSAs will help reduce the number of uninsured people,” writes Steve Forbes (www.forbes.com/forbes/2003/1222/035_print.html).

“Imagine a world where we didn’t have to call bureaucrats to have a single reasonable treatment approved….” (AAPS News, May 2001).

“Medical Savings Accounts: the Necessary Centerpiece of Health Care Reform” by Raymond J. Keating

“Health Care Crisis: Made in Washington,” AAPS News, August 1992

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