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Health accounts don't raise costs

July 17, 2006|From Times wire reports

New medical savings accounts created in the U.S. by a 2003 federal law don't raise out-of-pocket costs for many users and thus aren't likely to deter spending on healthcare, a new study has found.

The program, called Health Savings Accounts, allows people with deductibles of at least $1,050 a year in their private health insurance plans to set aside pretax dollars to cover the initial costs that policies won't pay. Although some HSA proponents predicted the accounts would switch more costs to patients from employers, that isn't the case, researchers said.

The study appears in the July-August issue of Health Affairs.

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