They’re not as gung-ho as I about the cost-saving power of HSAs. But for the media, it’s a start. Check it out:
But an emerging alternative to conventional health insurance is the Health Savings Account, or HSA. Touted as a money-saver for consumers and for employers who offer health insurance, an HSA makes you use your own money (or funds set aside by your employer) to pay for medical expenses until a high yearly deductible — $1,000, $2,000 or more — is met. Above that, conventional insurance kicks in.
The cost calculator was created for this sort of plan. One criticism of the high-deductible concept is that, while it puts pressure on patients to act as cost-conscious consumers, cost information has been hard to come by. Now "typical" Blue Cross payments will be online. Individual providers’ charges will not be, so this is a benchmark, not comparison shopping. Yet it’s worthwhile to see how much the costs of certain procedures — colonoscopies, for example — vary with the setting in which they’re done.
I don’t think the N&O understands the impact of, say, a 20 percent penetration rate with HSAs. Once it becomes readily apparent that people are adopting consumer-driven plans, care providers are going to have to start paying attention to cost. Our current third party system means doctors can just slide by only negotiating with insurers. Now they’ll have to pay hardball in the market. This will mean tremendous cost savings (though, it’s not a silver bullet).