The Hill: Seniors should have access to Medicare HSAs

Health savings accounts (HSAs) are becoming increasingly common, with the total number of HSA accounts in the United States increasing 16% year-over-year as of June 2017.

Many people–including The Seniors Center President Dan Perrin–champion HSAs for the great amount of flexibility and control they grant the owner: with an HSA account, you can accrue or deposit a certain amount of money into a special account to be used for all medical or health expenditures as you see fit, including doctor visits, prescriptions, copays, glasses, and dental work.  An account holder has no limits on where, when, or how he uses this money–provided it meets some pretty basic requirements (like needing to be used for essential medical expenses and nothing else).

These accounts must be paired with a HSA-qualified health insurance plan, so you can use funds in your HSA to cover all medical costs until you’ve met your deductible without fear of sudden, scary medical costs you aren’t prepared to pay.  This also gives HSA holders amazing peace of mind.

For retirees and seniors, financial peace of mind and maximal control of one’s medical spending is especially important.

But for Medicare beneficiaries, the comfort and control of HSAs is out of reach.  Currently, anyone can opt into a HSA-qualified insurance plan and HSA account for their medical needs–except Medicare beneficiaries.  By law, once you enroll in Medicare, you lose your ability to contribute to a HSA account–if you had one prior to enrollment, you can use it to pay your premiums, but once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Former Ways and Means Committee Chair and Texas House Representative Bill Archer, a Medicare beneficiary himself, finds the exclusion of 58 million seniors from this health care option unfair and discriminatory, and feels creating a HSA-qualifed Medicare option would save billions taxpayer dollars while giving retirees greater freedom in making vital health care decisions.

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