Health Savings Accounts: Participation Increased and Was More Common among Individuals with Higher Incomes

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "With health care spending increasing in the United States, you enacted legislation effective in 2004 establishing tax advantaged health savings accounts (HSA) to be coupled with high-deductible health insurance plans. HSA-eligible high-deductible health plans typically have lower premiums than traditional health plans and HSAs allow account holders to accumulate tax-free savings to pay for medical expenses. The novel structure of HSA-eligible plans coupled with HSAs has raised questions about who selects them and how they use the accounts. Proponents contend that the low premiums of HSA-eligible plans and ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. April 1, 2008.

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "With health care spending increasing in the United States, you enacted legislation effective in 2004 establishing tax advantaged health savings accounts (HSA) to be coupled with high-deductible health insurance plans. HSA-eligible high-deductible health plans typically have lower premiums than traditional health plans and HSAs allow account holders to accumulate tax-free savings to pay for medical expenses. The novel structure of HSA-eligible plans coupled with HSAs has raised questions about who selects them and how they use the accounts. Proponents contend that the low premiums of HSA-eligible plans and the tax-free savings potential of HSAs appeal to many consumers, while the high deductibles encourage them to be more astute health care consumers. However, some critics are concerned that HSA-eligible plans may attract enrollees who seek lower premiums but lack the resources to contribute to an HSA, and wealthy enrollees who may seek to use the HSA primarily to accumulate tax-advantaged savings rather than pay for medical expenses. In a 2006 report, GAO described individuals' early experiences with HSA-eligible plans and HSAs and certain characteristics of HSA account holders. You asked us to update certain information from that report with more recently available data. For this report, GAO examined: (1) participation in HSA-eligible high-deductible health plans and HSAs, (2) the income characteristics of HSA account holders, and (3) contributions made to and withdrawals made from HSAs."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • April 1, 2008

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Health Savings Accounts: Participation Increased and Was More Common among Individuals with Higher Incomes, text, April 1, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299131/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.