Last month, I decided to enroll in a new health insurance program called a Health Savings Account (HSA), a low-premium, high-deductible insurance plan which is being called one of the most important innovations in the history of
American health care. If you haven't heard about it yet, trust me, by the end of next week, it will be all over the news - online, in print and on TV.
As I mentioned in one of my very first posts, my friend, best-selling author Paul Zane Pilzer wrote a great book late last year called "The New Health Insurance Solution" which talks about how to get cheaper, better health insurance --including policies where premiums cannot be increased because of claims history. In it, he talks about, among many other things, Health Savings Accounts and how important they will be for Americans.
I spoke to Paul about it, I read his book and then hung up the phone, called up Oxford and enrolled in the Oxford HSA. My monthly health insurance premiums are now half of what they were and I now have the chance to save thousands of dollars a year in a tax-deferred savings account that remains in my account year after year.
You're going to be hearing a lot about HSA's in the coming weeks and months - President Bush is making it the centerpiece of his health care reform effort and will be talking about it during his State of the Union address next week.
In less than 24 months, more than 1 million people have signed up for HSA's (I'm proud to be a part of this group!) During the State of the Union next week, from what I've read, he'll be addressing several critical things that will impact the rapid adoption of HSA's by more and more American's including:
- Raising the dollar amount allowed to accumulate in existing HSA's.
- Additional tax breaks to help people who do not have employer-provided insurance coverage buy their own.
- More portability for health insurance when people switch jobs.
- A way for people to get more information about the price of the care they get and the performance of the doctors they see.
- A switch from paper medical records to more cost-effective, error-reducing electronic records.
- The ability for small businesses to pool the purchasing of health insurance coverage across state lines.
Take a look at Paul's book, The New Health Insurance Solution and read two great op-ed pieces from Investor's Business Daily and a Newsweek article that I link to below that I found very interesting.