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Consumer-Driven Health News

People Could Save a Lot of Money on Health Care—If Only They Knew How to Use Health Savings Accounts

Health Savings Accounts make a lot of sense–at least, on paper. The problem, according to a new study, is that few account holders are doing what it takes to even coming close to maximizing the potential of HSAs. The study released by the employee benefits consulting firm HelloWallet found that many workers are not saving enough money in the accounts.

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Maximizing Health Savings: HSA or FSA?

As many clients have seen their out-of-pocket health-related expenses rise with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, finding a tax-preferred method for funding those expenses has become more important than ever. For a client who is lucky enough to have access to both an HSA and an FSA to fund these expenses, expert advice as to the rules governing each type of account can prove critical to making sure each client makes the most of his or her health savings vehicle.

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Benchmark Study: Employers Share FSA Decisions and Strategies

Organizations are split on whether they want to adopt the rollover option for their health flexible spending account or provide the grace period, according to a survey by the Healthcare Trends Institute. But why are some employers prone to adopt a rollover option while others are staying with the 75-day grace period? The decisions tell a much larger story. Many employers believe that rollover is beneficial because it will likely increase FSA participation due to lower risk.

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U.S. Health Care Spending Hit $3.1 Trillion in 2014

Health care expenditures surged in 2014, fueled by expanded coverage and soaring prescription drug costs, according to government research released July 28. In 2014, total U.S. health care spending hit $3.080 trillion, up from $2.919 trillion in 2013, according to statistics compiled by government researchers. Health care expenditures are expected to rise in 2015 to a record 18 percent of the gross domestic product, up from 17.7 percent in 2014 and 17.4 percent in 2013.

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Health-Care Prices Are in the Longest Slowdown on Record

The price of health care has grown more slowly than core consumer prices — what Americans spend on everything except food and energy — over the past five years. It’s the first time that’s happened since record-keeping started in 1959. That’s a remarkable break from decades of health-care prices outpacing inflation, but consumers shouldering a greater share of their medical costs may not notice the difference. What’s behind the slowdown?

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