News of the Day ... in Perspective1/8/2003
First customer buys Health Savings Account
Fortis Health signed up the first customer for an HSA account enabled by the new Medicare bill on Jan. 1. It is estimated that about 40 million such accounts will be opened in the next 10 years. The accounts will permit Americans to save money on their insurance premiums, bank the savings in tax-free accounts, and take back control of their medical care.
HSA-like products quickly captured about two-thirds of the market in South Africa after the government deregulated medical insurance in 1994.
A Wall Street Journal editorial of Dec. 23, 2003, called the accounts “Teddy’s Nightmare,” as they could derail Kennedy’s dream of national health insurance. It quoted the web site of Physicians for a National Health Program: “Once a large number of these tax-preferred accounts have been established, reversal of this program will be very difficult.”
Highlights of initial IRS guidance, and press coverage on HSAs: www.galen.org/ccbdocs.asp?docID=581