Tuesday, June 11, 2013

HSA's vs The ObamaTax: Part XXCVI

As we've previously noted, the survivability of Health Savings Accounts (HSA's)  and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) under the ObamaTax has been questionable. The challenge is that the train-wreck limits one's total out-of-pocket costs and, as important, Exchange-qualified plan designs themselves.

Still, there's no denying the appeal of a plan that offers (potentially) lower premiums coupled with the ability to sock away tax-advantaged dollars to help offset those out-of-pocket costs. While I still have my doubts as to whether these plans will survive unscathed, the folks at Life Health Pro firmly believe that this will be the case:
"Whether your clients fear direct premium increases or higher annual deductibles, their out-of-pocket costs can be slashed using a tax-preferred vehicle that has been on the market for years: the health savings account (HSA) ... For 2013 and 2014, an HDHP is a plan with an annual deductible of not less than $1,250 for self-only coverage or $2,500 for family coverage."
And of course, there may be additional coinsurance that increases one's potential out-of-pocket liability. There are two major obstacles here:

First, Exchange-qualified plans are standardized. That is, there are pre-approved plan designs (often referred to as "metal plans" due to their names - "gold," "silver," etc). I have yet to see one called "aluminum."

Second, plans must meet stringent actuarial value standards, some of which have yet to be finalized. So while I'm hopeful that these plans will, in fact, continue to be available after full ObamaTax implementation, I'm not holding my breath.
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