Monday, February 11, 2008

Today's definition: HSA

HSA: n., Health Savings Account:

1.) - a uniquely American idea for people with declining health insurance coverage and skyrocketing costs and deductibles, i.e., those Americans with insurance that does not reimburse for expenses incurred for health problems, a government program devised by the health insurance, banking and investment industries and enacted by representatives (with excellent health insurance benefits) that allows people to set aside a portion of their "disposable, discretionary income" to pay for health costs formerly covered by insurance companies.

2.) - politely stated, a government program for underinsured Americans to "go insure yourselves."

3.) - impolitely stated, a government program for underinsured Americans to "go fuck yourselves."


D.K. Raed said...

There's an even darker side to HSAs, Dada, and it is the way it benefits higher income folk.

Some relief for soaring medical expenses is offered to those whose annual medical costs exceed 7% of their income. Congress' intent was that those of moderate or lower income who have a year of very high med bills would not have to pay income taxes on that portion that exceed 7%. Why moderate or lower income? Well, because they would most need such an exemption, and realistically, it is much easier to reach 7% of say $50K/yr than to reach 7% of $million/yr. Regardless, you can only deduct the EXCESS, because the first 7% is considered the squealing pig factor (the amount which an avg person will bear before squealing like a pig). Congress felt if you wanted better healthcare, you should be in congress (whose members and families have access to some of the best healthcare in the world at N/C).

When Bush began pushing HSAs, accountants immediately seized upon the fact that here was a mechanism by which all their higher income clients could also deduct some of those pesky medical costs that they had heretofore been denied. For you see, an HSA is tax-deductible without regard to income -- even without regard to actual medical expenses. AND the millionaires could still write off any medical costs that exceed 7% of their income, should they ever find themselves that ill.

Just in case there was ever any doubt, "No Millionaire Left Behind" could be your #4 definition.

Oops, almost forgot: in their extreme beneficence, the HSA program has an annual contribution limit of (apprx) $2800/yr (add $800 if you are over 55). Even after a few yrs of putting aside the full amount, it is unlikely to even come close to covering an unexpected surgery. PLUS, just to be extra stingy, the rules prevent someone from PAYING any health premium from the HSA acct. AND, your health insurance is strictly limited to the highest deductible kinds, with no supplemental insurance or even VA coverage allowed. I could go on, but I guess this all falls into the broad intention of "go fuck yourselves" definition. Thank you for putting that so succinctly.

Fran said...

Sounds more like " disposable, discretionary insurance". Let's face it- any surgery would likely put the average person/family into bankruptcy. Most people don't have a spare $20,000- $30,000+ to pay for surgery. Something like open heart surgery or major surgery is $50,00- $100,000.
This web site says Federal Employees pay for insurance, but it is the finest insurance

None of this "use the pennies in your pocket" concept going on for politicians. With the average rank-and-file members of the House and Senate making $169,300 per year, they are relatively safe.
No matter haw far I dig, I'm not going to find enough discretionary funds to pay for 21st century medical costs in America.
A new twist on *let them eat cake" Eh?

America's Health Plan:
Don't get Sick