Monday, December 11, 2006

Legislative Update

The lame duck congress just wrapped and here are some items of note.

In lieu of a proposed 5.1% reduction in Medicare reimbursements to physicians, the rate will be the same in 2007 as 2006. While this is not great news for docs who treat Medicare recipients, it is better than the cut.

We believe this will still have a negative impact on the number of docs willing to see new Medicare patients.

And this . . .

"Republican lawmakers, with little public debate, quietly added a billion-dollar" provision to the bill to encourage the use of health savings accounts, the Post reports (Birnbaum/Montgomery, Washington Post, 12/11). The legislation would eliminate a requirement that annual contributions to HSAs not exceed the amount of the annual deductibles for the health plans to which they are linked. "Many people with HSAs have health insurance deductibles at or near the minimum required to set up the accounts -- about $1,000 or $2,000 a year," but the bill would increase the maximum annual contribution to $2,850 for individuals and $5,650 for families, the Journal reports.

Given the fact that a high number (somewhere around 80% is my recollection) of HSA's have $1000 or less in them, I doubt this will have much of an impact.
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