Health savings accounts & high deductible health plans analyzed

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) have received a lot of attention in recent years from policymakers trying to make health care more affordable.

HSAs provide a generous tax incentive for people who save money for medical costs.  The reason for creating this incentive is to give consumers a financial stake in the medical services they purchase.  By making consumers more cost-conscious, it is hoped the medical marketplace will become more price-sensitive and systemwide costs will moderate.

IRS report focuses on business practices of tax-exempt hospitals

A recent report from the Internal Revenue Service includes disturbing findings about nonprofit hospitals.

Over half (58 percent) reported spending 5 percent or less of their revenues on activities that provided general "community benefit".  Most of the community benefit (60 percent) was contributed by only 9 percent of the nonprofit hospitals.

Stimulus law will help laid-off workers afford health insurance

If you have been laid off by an employer with a health plan, you probably know about COBRA.  It is the federal law that gives you the option of staying on that health plan so long as you pay the premium.

Problem is, most laid-off workers can not afford the premium, which for family coverage often exceeds $1,000 a month.

The stimulus bill signed by President Barack Obama includes $25 billion to help unemployed workers afford those health insurance premiums.  The money goes to pay 60 percent of the premium for up to nine months.

Health care included in federal stimulus bill

The final version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the so-called Stimulus Bill) includes important provisions related to health care. Here is a summary of key provisions.

Governor’s proposal falls far short of need

Governor Rendell's plan to expand the adultBasic program to 90,000 individuals is drawing mixed reactions from consumer advocates.

Foremost is distress over the fact that while the adultBasic waiting list is approaching 200,000 people, only an additional 45,000 individuals would be covered by the Governor's plan. 

Mitigating the disappointment is recognition the Commonwealth faces a severe fiscal crisis and appreciation for the Governor's persistent advocacy for the uninsured.