Saturday, September 13, 2008

Slacker Bush Highlights Old Facts on HSA's

President George W. Bush continued his half hearted, cherry picking administration with a round table visit on health insurance in Oklahoma City. His fact sheet omits the fact that 42% of people with high deductible health plan have no health savings account, thus 5.2 million are under-insured. But he does offer a few facts:

1. Today more than 6.1 million people are covered by HSA plans, up 35 percent since 2007. Low- and moderate-income Americans and those previously uninsured are enrolling in HSA plans. In 2005, the most recently available data, more than one-third of HSA policyholders in 2005 had incomes under $50,000 per year, and one-third of individual HSA policyholders in 2005 were previously uninsured.

New data is available, it just doesn't support the Bush fiction. The 2007 Employee Benefits Research Institute/Commonwealth Fund Consumerism in Health Survey showed:

1. Enrollment remains low
2. Income is higher
3. Health status is better
4. Little impact on the uninsured
5. Lower satisfaction
6. More missed care
7. More cost conscious behavior
8. Limited consumer information available

The new information on income Bush left out? Here it is:

In 2007, 31 percent were in households with incomes of $100,000 or more, up from 22 percent in 2005. Just 19 percent of adults with CDHPs were in households with incomes under $50,000, down from 33 percent in 2005. Among HDHP enrollees, 23 percent were in higher income households in 2007, up from 15 percent in 2005.

And how many markets flip behavior for 2% of potential customers? In the 1990's managed care penetration had to reach 40-50% to impact provider behavior. Bush's signature solution for the ills of America's health care system is a placebo at best, a con at worst.