“Health Savings Accounts” Require Patients to Pay More But Do Nothing To Slow Increasing Health Care Costs

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Santa Monica, CA — Health savings accounts will do nothing to control health care costs, which will reach 20% of the U.S. gross domestic product by 2015, according to a report released today by the government, and patients will bear more of the financial burden of health care. Health savings accounts were a centerpiece of President Bush‘s State of the Union Address and are supported by major insurers which will profit from policies that require Americans to pay more for less coverage.

The report released today by the National Health Statistics Group at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) shows the “inevitable result of a policy that ignores insurance overhead and prescription drugs costs that are making health care unaffordable for many Americans,” according to the non-profit and non-partisan Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR).

“Health savings accounts do nothing to reduce health care costs, they simply shift costs unto to those least able to pay: patients and families,” said Jerry Flanagan of FTCR. “These plans give the illusion of cheaper health care, but actually require patients to pay much more of the cost of treatment before coverage kicks in. When patients must pay more out of their own pocket for unaffordable care, they skip doctor visits that could identify illness early when it is easier and less expensive to treat.”

Health savings accounts offer tax-free savings accounts to purportedly offset future health care costs. “But those that need affordable health care most can’t afford to invest. More than half of those already enrolled in these plans have not put any money in their health savings account,” said Flanagan.

Information on health savings accounts is part of a new online resource published by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) pointing out the skeletal benefits and new burdens under such high cost health proposals. Click here to visit FTCR’s resource page.

According to information already released from the White House, the “Bush-Care” plan would “require patients to pay more for less health care,” said Flanagan of FTCR by:

  • Expanding junk-benefit “association health plans,” insurance policies that promise cheap, comprehensive coverage but don’t cap the amount of money consumers pay out of pocket. The president’s plan would remove association health plans from accountability to state consumer protection rules and courts.
  • Relying on health savings accounts, which promise lower monthly premiums but require patients to pay a lot more out of pocket before coverage kicks in. When patients bear a greater cost, they delay needed treatment and increase health costs in the long run.
  • Extending individual tax deductions for health care costs, a scheme to “let insurance companies and big pharma steal our money then give us a tax deduction to soften the blow,” said FTCR.

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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is California’s leading non-partisan consumer advocacy organization. For more information, visit us on the web at

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

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