Most health savings account (HSA) plans cover recommended preventive benefits on a first-dollar basis (that is, without regard to whether the deductible is met), according to a new survey released today by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
HSAs are tax-exempt trusts or custodial accounts established exclusively to pay qualified medical expenses. To be eligible for HSAs, individuals must be covered by a high deductible health plan (HDHP).
AHIP surveyed its members to examine the preventive benefits provided by HDHP policies that are compatible with a health savings account (HSA). The survey found that most HSA/HDHP policies cover recommended preventive benefits on a "first dollar" basis.
Among HSA/HDHP policies offering first-dollar coverage for preventive care, 100 percent cover adult and child immunizations; well-baby and well-child care; mammography; Pap tests; and annual physical exams and screenings. Nearly 90 percent provide first-dollar coverage for prostate cancer screenings and 83 percent offer this coverage for colonoscopies.
Virtually all HSA/HDHP policies purchased in the large-group market (99 percent) and small-group market (96 percent) provide first-dollar coverage for preventive care.
Additionally, 59 percent of policies purchased in the individual market cover preventive care on a first-dollar basis. First-dollar coverage for preventive benefits is less frequent in the individual market because premiums for individual coverage do not receive the same tax benefits as premiums for employment-based coverage. This gives consumers an incentive to purchase preventive benefits through a tax-free HSA rather than through higher premiums.