HSAs – Proven Effective at Improving Health and Increasing Wealth


UnitedHealth Group just released a three-year study comparing 40,000 individuals with Consumer-Driven Healthcare Plans (CDHPs, like those with Health Savings Accounts), compared to 15,000 with traditional health insurance (PPO, preferred provider organizations).
Major Findings:
# Preventive Care – each year, 5 percent more of the CDHP members sought preventive care services than did traditional insurance enrollees.
# Acute Care – CDHP members had a reduced use of acute care services (22 percent fewer hospital admissions and 14 percent fewer emergency room visits) without adverse health effects or outcomes, while the relative utilization of those acute services increased among traditional insurance members.
# Chronically Ill – CDHP members with a chronic illness also used acute services less (8 percent fewer hospital admissions and 12 percent fewer emergency room visits) but continued to visit their primary care physician at the same rate as chronically ill members enrolled in traditional plans.
# Overall Costs – Costs per member decreased 3 percent to 5 percent for CDHP enrollees over the 2004-2005 period, as compared to their 2003 baseline level, while increasing 8 percent to 10 percent among traditional insurance participants (after adjusting for demographics, health status, plan design impact and geography).
In another UnitedHealth Group study of 130,000 individuals with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs):
# After one year, the average HSA account holder had $1,100 in their HSA.
# 60 percent of employers provide funding to their employees’ HSAs, and on average employers are funding 40 percent of the employees’ health insurance policy deductibles (in addition to paying part of the premium). For example, if the HSA insurance plan has a $2,000 deductible, the employer is contributing $800 to the HSA.
# Nearly 90 percent of employees open a HSA if their employer offers to contribute funding.
Both Anthem and Aetna offer HSA-eligible insurance plans in Maine. Recently, MHPC released a report on HSAs and what they mean to Maine people.