Monday April 27, 2015

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Consumer-Driven Health News

Employer HSA Contributions May Be Dropping

Employers seem to be increasing the percentage of workers enrolled in health account plans without spending more on account contributions, according to an analysis by United Benefit Advisors. The percentage of employees enrolled in health account plans rose to 21 percent in 2014, from 16 percent in 2012. The increase came as the average employer HSA contribution fell 10 percent from the 2012 average, to $515.

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HSA Contributions Declined in 2014, Says EBRI

Contributions to health savings accounts from workers and employers decreased in 2014, according to research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The percentage of workers with an HRA or HSA-eligible health plan whose employers contributed to the account had steadily increased since 2009 and reached its highest level of 71 percent in 2013 but fell to 67 percent in 2014.

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High-Deductible Plans Bring Lower Costs Now, But Will They Bring Pricey Problems?

Companies that switch workers into high-deductible plans can reap enormous savings. Total costs paid by everybody — employer, employee and insurance company — tend to fall in the first year or rise more slowly. What nobody knows is whether such plans will backfire. If people choose not to have important preventive care and end up needing an expensive hospital stay years later as a result, everybody is worse off.

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Why It Is Crucial to Designate a HSA Beneficiary

As high deductible health insurance plans are becoming more popular, an important component is health savings accounts. In addition to having current tax advantages, there is specific tax treatment of HSA accounts upon the death of the account holder. While not a requirement for HR departments, here is a quick tip that employees may find valuable.

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Most Consumers Are in the Dark About Health Care Costs

Studies show that when consumers are presented with information about what health services cost, they tend to make better decisions. The hard part, however, is finding out what things cost. New research by Public Agenda has found that 57 percent of consumers with health insurance and 51 percent of those lacking coverage are unaware of what their health care provider charges.

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