Do Individual HSA Health Plans Discourage Preventative Care?

When it comes to individual health insurance coverage, Health Savings Accounts have several benefits. An HSA plan usually has lower monthly premiums, while being a safety net in case of emergency. It also allows you the flexibility to visit any doctor, hospital, or health care provider of your choice.

However, individual HSA health plans have been criticized due to the relatively higher cost of routine preventative care. There are no co-payments, and usually no co-insurance percentages. Therefore, when you visit a doctor, you’ll have to pay their full fee; the price may be reduced if you use your personal health insurance company’s network, but you’ll still be responsible for the entire amount. Some people believe that the higher cost discourages people from receiving preventative care services, instead allowing their health to deteriorate until they develop a serious or chronic condition and need more costly, expensive treatment.

Supporters of this type of personal health insurance believe that those worries are overblown. The visits are paid for with income before taxes, which is financially helpful. In addition, they believe it is more likely that HSAs force patients to cut down on wasteful health care and doctor visits: do you really need to see a physician every time you catch a cold? Meanwhile, it encourages consumers to shop around, which may lead to lower prices from doctors who want to increase business.

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