ABC News: Whole Foods: A Whole New Approach to Employees' Health Coverage
This is a great article about Health Savings Accounts. I have been on a plan like this for the last 3 years, and think that it is the best thing since sliced bread. A lot of people (and employers) are fearful about "high deductible health plans." And why wouldn't they be, with that name?
But we have reached a point that people need to be personally engaged in the health decisions they make - and that means sharing in the understanding of financing health. And smart companies (mine included) are softening the blow by doing things like contributing to employees' HSAs (this is YOUR MONEY!) and covering preventive care at 100% (annual physicals, mammograms, etc.).
In the past 3 years, I have not spent a single dollar "out of pocket" on health care for my family - including prescriptions. Yes, I contribute to this HSA every month. But it comes out of my paycheck on a pre-tax basis, and it goes along with an incredibly low premium - which means that I only pay for the healthcare that I use. With conventional plans, if I don't use the healthcare system much, I am actually overpaying. With an HSA, any money I don't use is MINE, and is growing (still on a pretax basis) in my HSA investment account.
If your employer offers a plan like this, you need to do the math . . . put an excel sheet together. Chances are you're going to see an opportunity to save a lot of money. And if your employer DOESN'T offer an HDHP with a Health Savings Account, you should be insisting that they do. Yes, I work for a health insurance company - but I wouldn't say it here if I didn't really believe it.