I was disappointed to read Milt Freudenheim’s Oct. 13 article, “Bush Health Savings Accounts Slow to Gain Acceptance.” HSAs are a very new product, just launched January 1, and it is astonishing that insurers and financial services institutions so quickly responded by providing a product to sell on the first day. Further, it is taking some time for people to learn that this new option is even available.
Most companies can’t offer HSAs until next year because they negotiate the contracts for their employees’ health coverage a year in advance. Many companies, in fact, this summer reopened their 2005 contracts that had already been completed to include HSAs.
It is not surprising that the majority of those buying HSAs first are those purchasing individual health insurance. But even they are faced with state laws that, in some cases, make it difficult if not impossible to purchase the accompanying high deductible health insurance policy.
Markets take time to adjust to a new idea and a new offering, both on the buyer and the seller side. What we are seeing is the beginning of success as vendors and customers negotiate and help shape this new product. A slow start is a good thing, and certainly not a sign of failure.
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