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States on board with HSAs for Medicaid


Some states may implement health savings accounts (HSA) for their Medicaid programs next year, reports NPR.  Michigan and Indiana already allow beneficiaries to use funds supplemented by the state to pay for services and require monthly contributions to their health independence accounts.

These monthly contributions ensure certain benefits, like avoiding cost sharing for medical services. Funds are rolled-over from one month to the next, and if an individual leaves the Medicaid program, they receive their funds if they need to cover medical costs.

HSAs are growing in popularity, considering almost 17.4 million people now have this type of coverage--an increase of 12 percent from last year, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Last year, Arkansas became the first state to use private Medicaid expansion. Next year, the state wants to continue its experimentation with the program by introducing Health Independence Accounts. Beneficiaries participating in the program who earn between 50 percent and 138 percent of the poverty level would pay monthly contributions of between $5 and $25, according to NPR.

Each month a beneficiary pays his or her account, the state contributes $15--the allotted rollover cannot exceed $200.

"We believe in consumerism," John Selig, director of the Arkansas Department of Human Service, told NPR.  By requiring Medicaid beneficiaries to make a monthly contribution to a Health Independence Account, "we think they'll use care more appropriately and get a sense of how insurance works," he added.

Yet consumers still know very little about HSA policies: Only 30 percent of consumers currently enrolled in an HSA could pass a basic quiz, while more than 40 percent said HSAs are spending accounts and do not realize they can actually save beyond the plan year or invest their funds, according to a recent Alegeus Technologies survey, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

For more:
- here's the NPR article

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