December 10, 2010 — It is crucial for chiropractors, as healthcare providers, to be aware and informed about trends in the insurance industry. According to a recent survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (www.ebri.org), participation in medical plans with a deductible higher than $1,000 is increasing in the privately insured population.
Increased enrollment in high deductible health plans may also indicate higher utilization of health savings accounts as they are often paired with high deductible health plans. Health savings accounts allow enrollees to pay for eligible services and items with pre-tax funds from their paychecks.
Unlike a flexible savings account, which requires that funds allocated must be used by the end of the year or forfeited, any unused funds in the health savings account roll over to the next year.
DCs may find patients using the health savings accounts to pay for chiropractic services when they have limited coverage in their medical benefit plan, so this is an area to pay close attention to.
An excellent resource for information regarding consumer-directed health plans and health savings accounts is the IRS. For example, IRS Publication 969 provides further insight into these types of plans. For more information, go to www.irs.gov/publications/p969/ar02.html.
Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.acatoday.org