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Health Insurers Move to Limit ACA Special Enrollments

Licking Wounds, Insurers Accelerate Moves To Limit Health-Law Enrollment

Stung by losses under the federal health law, major insurers are seeking to sharply limit how policies are sold to individuals in ways that consumer advocates say seem to discriminate against the sickest and could hold down future enrollment.

In recent days Anthem, Aetna and Cigna, all among the top five health insurers, told brokers they will stop paying them sales commissions to sign up most customers who qualify for new coverage outside the normal enrollment period, according to the companies and broker documents.

The health law allows people who lose other coverage, families with new children and others in certain circumstances to buy insurance after enrollment season ends. In most states the deadline for 2016 coverage was Jan. 31.

Last year, these “special enrollment” clients were much more expensive than expected because lax enforcement allowed many who didn’t qualify to sign up, insurers said. Nearly a million special-enrollment customers selected plans in the first half of 2015, half of them after losing previous coverage.

In addition, Cigna and Humana, another big health insurer, have ceased paying brokers to sell many higher-benefit “gold” marketplace plans for individuals and families while continuing to pay commissions on more-profitable, lower-benefit “bronze” plans, according to documents and interviews.

Gold plans typically enroll sicker members than do less comprehensive policies, say insurance experts. As of June, more than 695,000 people had enrolled in gold plans.

Those who want to buy individual and family plans can still do so directly through the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces or via navigators working for nonprofit groups.

But the retreat from broker sales, which includes last year’s decision by No. 1 carrier UnitedHealthcare to suspend almost any commissions for such business, erodes a pillar of the health law: that insurers must sell to all customers no matter how sick, consumer advocates say.

By inducing brokers to avoid high-cost members — whether in gold plans or special enrollment — the moves limit access to coverage and discriminate against those with greater medical needs, said Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University and an authority on the health law.

“The only explanation I can see for them doing this is risk avoidance — and that is discriminatory marketing and not permitted,” he said. “When people wonder why we’re not getting millions more enrollees in Affordable Care Act health plans, one reason is, the carriers are discouraging it.”

The insurance industry says it is not discriminating but adjusting to market realities including higher-than-expected medical claims and the failure of a government risk-adjustment program called “risk corridors” to cover much of that cost.

“Without making necessary changes to coverage and benefits, there was no way for health plans to remain in the market or to offer the kind of coverage as they had in the past without sustaining huge losses,” said Clare Krusing, spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry lobby.

The adjustments are critical to keeping coverage affordable and sustainable, said individual insurers contacted by a reporter.

If insurers are telling brokers they won’t be paid for enrolling people in gold plans, “that to me is pretty discriminatory,” said Sabrina Corlette, research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms.

The changes don’t affect job-based insurance or the government’s Medicaid and Medicare programs.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated as recently as last March that 21 million consumers would be enrolled by now in private health insurance plans sold through online marketplaces. Now CBO forecasts 13 million will sign up this year.

Brokers are critical to sign-ups and the success of the health law. For 2014, 44 percent of Kentucky enrollees bought through brokers. So did 39 percent of the California enrollees. No similar figures are available for the marketplace that serves most states, healthcare.gov.

Brokers are a “very important” part of enrollment for individuals and families despite alternatives provided by the health law, said Robert Laszewski, an insurance consultant. “They’re still big.”

With varying commissions, brokers will be tempted to promote only plans they make money on, even if those aren’t the best for some customers, said John Jaggi, an Illinois broker and consultant.

“Now they’re really forcing the agent to think only of the plan that he gets compensated for,” he said.

The race to lower commissions began last year with United’s move along with decisions by several, smaller insurance co-ops to suspend sales fees shortly before they failed, brokers said. Other insurers feared they might end up getting their competitors’ unprofitable business, so they too adjusted fees.

Last week, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina also told brokers it would stop paying commissions for special enrollment starting April 1, reported The News and Observer of Raleigh.

“We expect that at some point in time all of these companies will continue to reduce commissions where we’re not able to be compensated in a way that we can continue to run our businesses,” said Kelly Fristoe, who sells health insurance in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Regulators in at least two states, Kentucky and Colorado, have already warned insurers that altering broker commissions violates “fair marketing” rules or the terms approved rate filings.

Federal regulations prohibit insurers from marketing practices that “have the effect of discouraging the enrollment of individuals with significant health needs.” Violations can bring penalties of up to $100 a day for each adversely affected person.

The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to requests for comment on the practices.

Insurers “can’t market their plans in ways that discriminate,” said Sarah Lueck, a policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank. “It’s going to take some more statements from regulators to make sure insurers get the message.”

What’s unclear is whether insurers intend to resume paying full commissions when open enrollment begins for 2017.

In its Monday letter to brokers, Anthem said it “remains committed” to individual and family insurance. United, however, said last year it might leave that business altogether — a drastic move because under federal law it couldn’t reenter for five years.

Few if any carriers want to go that far, said Laszewski.

“They can’t withdraw from the market,” he said. But by adjusting commissions, “they’re doing everything they can to slow it down until it gets fixed.”

Special-enrollment business is typically costlier than average because sick people are more motivated to sign up outside the normal marketing season, insurance experts say.

But last year’s special enrollments were especially unprofitable because regulators did little to ensure that consumers followed the rules — that they had lost previous coverage, gotten married, moved or otherwise qualified for off-season sign-ups, insurers say. As a result, any consumer could wait until he or she needed care to enroll, they say.

Aetna told HHS that a fourth of all its marketplace members joined through special enrollment last year and that many dropped out soon after receiving expensive care. Special-enrollment members used as much as 50 percent more care than those who sign up before the deadline, said the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Of the top seven health insurers, only Kaiser Permanente and Health Care Service Corp., which owns Blues plans in Illinois, Texas and elsewhere, haven’t changed commissions recently for gold plans or special enrollment, brokers say.

“Kaiser Permanente won’t be making any broker commission changes,” said spokeswoman Amy Packard Ferro. “It’s business as normal but we are always evaluating our commission structure,” said HCSC spokesman Greg Thompson.

The risk corridor program was supposed to reimburse insurers with sicker-than-average members. In November, however, HHS said it had only enough money to pay 13 percent of what it owed under the program for 2014.

The result for gold plans is that “the risk adjustment system does not work at all,” said Ana Gupte, a health insurance analyst at Leerink Partners. “So it’s impossible to make money.”

Analysis by Standard and Poor’s shows Humana, which is owed $243 million for 2014, as the biggest risk-corridor loser. United, Anthem, Aetna and Cigna, however, aren’t in the top 20.

For most of the largest insurers, blaming risk corridors for cutting broker fees “seems more like an excuse than a reason,” said Jost.

KHN Senior Correspondent Julie Appleby contributed to this story.

Tax Scams Are Targeting Uninsured, I.R.S. Warns

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is warning consumers about tax scams involving the Affordable Care Act and penalties imposed under the law on people who go without health insurance.

In some cases, the agency said, unscrupulous tax preparers tell clients to pay the penalties directly to them, and they keep the money.

Most people do not owe the payment at all because they have health coverage, such as Medicaid or employer-sponsored insurance, or qualify for one of many available exemptions.

“However,” the I.R.S. said, “if you owe a payment, remember that it should be made only with your tax return or in response to a letter from the I.R.S. The payment should never be made directly to an individual or return preparer.”

The creators of these schemes have been “targeting taxpayers with limited English proficiency and, in particular, those who primarily speak Spanish,” the tax agency said last week in a bulletin for consumers.

Undocumented immigrants appear to be particularly vulnerable. They are sometimes told that they must make penalty payments directly to a tax preparer because of their immigration status, the agency said.

The health law requires most Americans to have health insurance. For those who flout the requirement, the penalty, also known as a shared responsibility payment, may be $695 or more this year. For many people, the last day to sign up for insurance is Sunday, when the third annual open enrollment season ends.

Unauthorized immigrants are not required to have insurance, though they are often required to pay taxes, and many do so. “If you are not a U.S. citizen or national, and are not lawfully present in the United States,” the Internal Revenue Service declared, “you are exempt from the individual shared responsibility provision and do not need to make a payment.”

The exemption also extends to young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children and have received a temporary reprieve from deportation under a program created by President Obama in 2012 and known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Ana Cecilia Lopez, a tax lawyer in Bellingham, Wash., said many tax preparers did not ask enough questions to determine their clients’ citizenship status — a crucial factor in deciding if they owe a penalty or are exempt under the Affordable Care Act.

“Some tax preparers are not asking even the most basic questions about a person’s legal status,” Ms. Lopez said. “They just ask: ‘Did you receive insurance? Did your employer give you insurance? No. Did you get health insurance on your own? No. O.K., now you owe this penalty.’ ”

Ms. Lopez said she worked with migrant farmworkers who had been in the United States for decades without legal status but had paid income taxes. Tax compliance is considered to be evidence of good moral character and could be helpful if they seek immigration benefits or legal status in the future.

Christine Speidel, a tax lawyer at Vermont Legal Aid, welcomed the government’s effort to warn consumers, including undocumented workers in particular. “This population is very vulnerable to exploitation by tax preparers,” she said.

The I.R.S. has tried to regulate certain paid tax-return preparers, requiring them to pass certification tests, pay annual fees and take continuing education courses. But in 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the rules, saying the agency had no authority to adopt them.

As a result, the I.R.S. said, some tax professionals who had been suspended or disbarred in disciplinary proceedings have again been allowed to prepare tax returns for consumers.

The national taxpayer advocate at the I.R.S., Nina E. Olson, has found problems with unlicensed tax preparers.

In the absence of national standards, she said, “a person can hold himself out as a return preparer with almost no knowledge or skill by simply sitting with a taxpayer and working through” the questions in tax preparation software.

President Obama has proposed giving the I.R.S. more authority to regulate tax preparers. But Republicans, still angry with the agency over what they see as its improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups, have been reluctant to give it additional authority at this time.

ObamaCare costs set to spike for thousands

ObamaCare costs set to spike for thousands

About 43,000 ObamaCare enrollees are bearing the full cost of their insurance plans after losing the tax credits that are meant to make coverage more affordable.

Those enrollees no longer receive ObamaCare tax credits because they failed to file a tax return for 2014, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The number has never before been released.

Losing the tax credit can come with a sticker shock. HHS said in March that the average monthly ObamaCare premium before tax credits was $364, compared to $101 after the tax credit.

The precise number of people who are losing federal subsidies is unclear, ­because even family plans are counted as a single applicant. The number also does not include the 12 states and the District of Columbia that operate their own insurance exchanges.

Still, the IRS warned in July that 710,000 households were at risk of losing ObamaCare subsidies because they hadn’t filed a tax return. After the warning letters went out, the number of households that hadn’t filed dropped.

In October, the IRS flagged about 172,000 ­ObamaCare applicants and notified them they were at risk.

HHS told The Hill that by Jan. 1, because some people fixed the problem and some people had dropped coverage altogether, “less than 25 percent” of the 172,000 applicants were enrolled in ObamaCare without tax credits. That translates to around 43,000 enrollees.

People who are enrolled in an insurance plan can become re-eligible for tax credits by filing their 2014 returns.

HHS said it anticipated the tax return problem and worked to prevent it, including with reminders on HealthCare.gov, the federal ObamaCare portal.

“This is an issue that we’re highly sensitive to,” Kevin Counihan, the CEO in charge of the federal marketplace, told reporters last week. “We’ve enhanced our application with new reminders, new pop-ups and other ways to try to assure people what they need to do to make sure that they comply and file the right forms.”

Other people who failed to follow an ObamaCare tax rule are getting something of a pass from the administration this year.

Those people filed their 2014 tax returns but failed to attach a form that compares their tax credits to their income to make sure they received the right amount of tax credit.

The IRS said Friday that about 976,000 households failed to attach the extra form, known as Form 8962, as of the end of October.

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If you would like more information about personalized insurance and benefit solutions, call us at ACS Insurance to schedule an appointment today (775)425-3233. We look forward to working with you.

Drugmakers don’t let up on price increases

Drugmakers Raise Prices Despite Criticisms

Pharmaceutical companies cite high cost of research as reason for price increases

Wall Street Journal | by Peter Loftus

Drugmakers didn’t let up on price increases with the start of a new year, demonstrating the industry’s pricing power in the face of mounting criticisms of prescription costs in the U.S.

Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., Allergan PLC, Horizon Pharma PLC and others have raised U.S. prices for dozens of branded drugs since late December, with many of the increases between 9% and 10%, according to equity analysts. The increases are on list prices, before any discounts or rebates that manufacturers sometimes provide insurers and other payers.

Some of the increases add thousands of dollars to the cost of already expensive drugs, and come on top of repeated price hikes in recent years.

Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Jan 1 raised the price of its new drug Hetlioz, which treats a sleep disorder in blind people, by 10%, to $148,000 a year, a spokeswoman said. Piper Jaffray analysts say the price of the once-daily capsule is now 76% higher than when it was introduced in 2014.

The Vanda spokeswoman said the cost of Hetlioz is “within the price range of treatments that address similar size populations,” noting that fewer than 1,000 patients currently take the drug in the U.S.

Since New Year’s Day, Pfizer has raised list prices an average of 10.6% for more than 60 branded products with annual U.S. sales of at least $10 million, according to Deutsche Bank. Prices for eight of the products went up at least 20%. Pfizer also left prices unchanged for about 10 products.

A Pfizer spokesman said the company offers “considerable discounts” off the list prices, and the company provides medicines for free to patients meeting income criteria.

In recent years, it has been common for drug companies to push through annual price increases in at least the high single digits around Jan. 1 for many brands—and in some cases additional increases throughout the year—analysts said. But this latest round of price hikes is significant in light of the political pressure.

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If you would like more information about personalized insurance and benefit solutions, call us at ACS Insurance to schedule an appointment today (775)425-3233. We look forward to working with you.

 

The Need For Insurance Agents

The Affordable Care Act is confusing and complicated, which means that health insurance agents and brokers are needed to help consumers pick the best plans for them, Kevin Counihan, chief executive officer of Healthcare.gov, said Monday.

“It’s got plenty of opportunity to be made a little bit better,” Counihan said. “And I’m very hopeful and confident that as we get more adults in Congress that they’re all going to sit down, the two sides together, and they’re going to address some of these issues.”

Counihan spoke to about 20 brokers and agents at an event hosted in Baton Rouge by the Louisiana Association of Health Underwriters.

Louisiana had 185,215 people enrolled as of Dec. 26 in ACA plans, known as “Obamacare.” Nationally, more than 8.5 million had signed up for health plans or been automatically re-enrolled in coverage.

Health agents have complained that they are being marginalized by the online federal insurance marketplace, which denies them access to training and webinars and insurance carriers, some of whom have reduced commissions or eliminated them, like Humana and UnitedHealthcare. Brokers had other complaints, including that any time a change is made, Healthcare.gov automatically deletes the agents’ identification number, forcing the consumer and agent to redo each step of the enrollment process.

Counihan said he would check on those issues. Brokers want to help the people buying individual coverage through the marketplace, said Gabe Janusa, president of New Orleans-based Demand Insurance & Benefits. But by cutting compensation, carriers are removing brokers’ incentive to do so, he said.

Counihan said that during this enrollment period, Healthcare.gov has provided tools to help consumers, allowing them to check which doctors, facilities and prescription drugs are covered. And it appears consumers have a better grasp of coverage and terms like deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

But they still need help, and the complexity of the work is exactly why people turn to brokers for assistance, he said.

Counihan said he has heard insurance carriers’ argument for cutting brokers’ commissions: They’re losing money on Affordable Care Act individual policies and have to cut costs.

But, he said, insurance companies have always paid as little as possible for everything. If companies aren’t paying commissions or are reducing those payments, it may be because they want to de-emphasize that business, he said.

If you would like more information about personalized insurance and benefit solutions, call us at ACS Insurance to schedule an appointment today (775)425-3233. We look forward to working with you.

Reasons to have an insurance broker

Customers Often Struggle To Understand Key Health Insurance Terms, Concepts

Do You Speak Health Insurance? It’s Not Easy

NPR, 12/30/2015

Solicit opinions about health insurance and you’re almost guaranteed to find consensus: It’s mystifying and irritating.

“It just seems like a lot of the buzzwords are intended to just complicate the whole thing and make it more expensive,” says David Turgeon, 46, who’s sitting in a Minneapolis mall eating lunch.

Enrollment season rolls on, and people shopping on HealthCare.gov and the other marketplaces have until Jan. 31 to decide on a plan.

But even people trying to pick from their employers’ options can find the process complicated and difficult to understand. The jargon can be overwhelming, and it can lead people to make costly mistakes or to avoid care altogether.

Ronen Ben-Simon, 28, also eating lunch in Minneapolis, says some basic health insurance terms are lost on him — even though he’s a nurse. “I don’t even know what coinsurance is, to be honest,” he says.

Coinsurance, if your plan has it, kicks in after you’ve met your deductible and requires you to pay a set percentage of medical bills.

Over in St. Paul, Minn., Seanne Thomas, a 50-year-old real estate broker, says she has gotten good at figuring out how health insurance policies work. She’s had to, because her family members are covered under three different plans. “So I had to compare copays, I had to compare out-of-pocket, you know, deductible and maximum coverage.”

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Healthcare costs a top concern

Healthcare costs a top concern for Republican and Democratic voters

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON Americans want to know what the next U.S. president will do to lower their rising healthcare costs, a priority shared by Republican and Democratic voters and second only to keeping the country safe, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.

In all, 62 percent of people surveyed said they would want to know about a presidential candidate’s plan for reducing healthcare costs, according to the online poll conducted Dec. 14-18.

While Republican and Democratic candidates are worlds apart on how to address healthcare, poll results show roughly the same proportion of Republican voters, or 62 percent, view it as a priority compared with 67 percent of Democrats, highlighting their frustration with rising drug prices, insurance premiums and deductibles ahead of the 2016 vote.

The only topic that attracted more interest was national security, as 67 percent wanted to know more about how presidential candidates planned to keep the country safe.

Fifty-four percent wanted to know their plan for creating more jobs, 42 percent were interested in plans for education reform and 31 percent in how they would deal with climate change.

U.S. employers have been shifting more health coverage costs onto workers, particularly through high deductible health insurance plans, which can reach $6,600 in out of pocket costs for an individual and $13,200 for a family before insurance kicks in. Many of these changes have been ushered in with President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, as well as recent sharp increases in some prescription drug costs.

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Americans Who Don’t Buy Health Coverage Face Heftier Fine

newyorktimes

Americans Who Don’t Buy Health Coverage Face Heftier Fine in ’16, Analysis Finds

Featured in The New York Times | By Abby Goodnough

WASHINGTON — Americans who remain uninsured in 2016 despite having the option of buying health coverage through an Affordable Care Act marketplace will owe an average tax penalty of $969 per household, a new analysis has found.

That amount is substantially higher than the average estimated penalty of $661 for those who went uninsured in 2015, according to the analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. But it remains to be seen how effective the rising fine will be in persuading the roughly 10.5 million uninsured Americans who are eligible for marketplace coverage to buy it.

The health law requires people without health insurance to either pay a penalty when they file taxes or to claim an exemption. Last year, the penalty was $95 per adult or 1 percent of household income, whichever was greater. This year it is rising to $325 per adult or 2 percent of household income, and for 2016, it will increase to $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of household income.

Open enrollment for 2016 started on Nov. 1, and this week the Obama administration began stepping up efforts to draw attention to the growing penalty for those remaining uninsured. In a blog post on Monday, Kevin Counihan, chief executive of the federal insurance marketplace, stressed that the penalty was increasing.

“I believe your best option is to learn about the tax credits that are available and to visit Healthcare.gov to enroll in a plan,” Mr. Counihan wrote.

He also announced that a special enrollment period around the April 15 tax filing deadline would not be offered in 2016, as it was this year.

The administration has walked a fine line over the penalty — while it may motivate people to sign up for health insurance, it is also reviled. Tracking polls conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation have consistently found the requirement to have health insurance or pay a fine to be the most unpopular part of the health law.

“It’s a conundrum for the administration,” said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president of the foundation. “It might be a great way of getting people signed up, but the politics aren’t good.”

Despite the growing penalty, the Obama administration’s stated goal for enrollment in marketplace plans next year is modest. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, has predicted that 10 million people would have marketplace coverage by the end of 2016, up only about 100,000 from recent levels. Millions of uninsured people can qualify for exemptions from the penalty, mainly because they are too poor to afford health insurance or because they live in a state that refused to expand Medicaid under the health law. The Kaiser analysis estimates that 78 percent of people who are uninsured and eligible for marketplace plans will be subject to the individual mandate penalty if they remain uninsured in 2016, and the rest will qualify for exemptions.

The analysis also found that for about 3.5 million of the remaining uninsured, who would qualify for generous federal premium subsidies, it would cost less to buy the cheapest category of marketplace coverage than to pay the penalty. But it pointed out that that level of coverage comes with high deductibles — the amount people have to pay for medical care before their coverage kicks in.

Kaiser’s calculations did not include uninsured people who are eligible for health benefits through an employer.

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When a Free Check-Up Isn’t Really Free

Featured in US NEWS | By Kimberly Leonard

usnews-logo

Unexpected questions can change a free wellness visit into an expensive diagnostic one.

Patricia Jones thought she was getting the much-talked-about free physical under Obamacare when she went to see a doctor in May. But, she says, a few small things that happened during her checkup ended up making the visit cost more than $450.

First, the doctor asked Jones, who lives in Oregon and describes herself as a full-time mom, if she had moles that were changing colors. When Jones pointed to a spot on her neck, the doctor said it was not even a mole and nothing to worry about.

Then her doctor asked her if she wanted to have a second child, and Jones replied that having one made her tired enough. The doctor said she probably should have a blood test to figure out the cause of her fatigue.

The doctor also asked whether Jones had any current health problems. She mentioned that she hurt her foot a couple of years ago and that it occasionally bothered her. The doctor looked at her foot, touched it, and took note of it in her medical record.

Later, the bill for the “free” check-up came, leaving her confused and leading to rounds of phone calls with her doctor’s office and insurance company. U.S. News confirmed the charges.

Jones, who declined to share her real name because her family’s medical records have been hacked in the past, now knows that these questions, along with her answers and possibly other things that happened during what she thought would be her preventive visit, caused it to be billed as a diagnostic one – something her insurance company didn’t cover in full as it would for a typical physical.

Stories like this are common among patients, who struggle with confusion about what prevention services insurance covers under President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act. The Obama administration has widely touted the free preventive benefits as a major perk of the law, encouraging Americans to take advantage of them.

“The idea was for patients to no longer avoid getting preventive screenings or checkups because they couldn’t pay for them,” says Trisha Torrey, founder of the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates. “These kinds of things always have unintended consequences.”

Under the law, most health insurance plans must cover a set of preventive services without any cost to patients. Services include vaccines, colonoscopies, mammograms, pap smears, diabetes screenings and tobacco use screenings – all aimed at helping doctors and patients catch problems early, so they don’t become costly and more difficult to manage later.

Patients are soon discovering, however, that anything else discussed during a visit with their health care providers could cost them.

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7 benefits of HSAs

Health savings accounts can do more than help with health care costs

Health savings accounts haven’t gotten anywhere near the amount of press—nor the attention from workers—that their advocates believe they deserve.

That could be because workers really don’t understand HSAs.

Nor are they aware of the multiple tax benefits that such accounts can provide—and that’s on top of their primary purpose: offering a means of saving to cope with steadily increasing health care costs.

Coupled with high-deductible health plans, HSAs offer employees the opportunity to set money aside to pay those high deductibles, as well as to save even more to pay other out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by the health plan.

Health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts aren’t easy to understand. Here’s what you need to know.

But workers often don’t save much more than the minimum; in fact, a recent study found that not even one percent of respondents maxed out allowable HSA contributions.

That means they failed to capitalize on the many other advantages that HSAs offer.

That could be because they confuse the rules governing HSAs with those governing flexible spending accounts—which have use-it-or-lose-it rules that don’t apply to HSAs—and are afraid of losing any additional funds they might save over the minimum.

But there’s plenty more benefit to be had from an HSA, over and above its help with health care expenses.

Here’s a look at seven benefits to be had from using HSAs to the max. Workers, listen up.

  1. Contributions to HSAs are deductible from gross income.
  2. HSA money rolls over from year to year.
  3. Interest on HSA money is tax free.
  4. Money invested inside an HSA also grows tax free.
  5. At age 65, withdrawal penalties go away even if you take the money out for a nonqualified medical expense.
  6. You can use the money in an HSA to pay for long-term care.
  7. You can use the money in an HSA to supplement a 401(k).

For more information, read the full article here.