Next week I plan to send a letter, signed by myself and 44 of my colleagues in the House of Representatives, to President Obama asking him to direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Secretary Sebelius to reconsider two parts of Obamacare that could jeopardize the future of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Recent HHS actions discriminate against HSA-qualified health plans, and will prevent them from being offered inside or outside insurance exchanges in the individual, small group and large group markets. Over time, these actions will eliminate HSA-qualified health plan availability in each of these markets.
Today, nearly 14 million Americans utilize Health Savings Accounts to help address the rising costs of health care, because Obamacare did not fix this problem. These accounts allow folks to set aside their own dollars on a pre-tax basis to pay for health care expenses, and we should protect their choice to continue to purchase health plans that will include HSAs.
For example, one HHS rule, the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR), requires that insurers spend 80 percent of premium money on medical claims. The MLR regulation discriminates against HSAs by only counting the dollars the insurer spends after the insured reaches their deductible. Since only 6 percent of all policy holders that have an HSA-qualified health plan reach their deductible, only 6 percent of the policy holders have expenditures to count towards the MLR regulation. In short, the insurance company will not allow HSA-qualified health plans to meet the MLR rule, and therefore, will not be compliant. The penalties associated with this rule will discourage insurers from offering HSA-qualified health plans.
We should not allow the federal government to make choices of this magnitude regarding individuals' health care. President Obama has voiced his support for HSA-qualified plans, and this letter urges him to consider overturning these harmful regulations. Consumers must be put back in charge of their health care decisions.