THE CIRCLE OF...

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE HEALTH CARE. Interesting Wall Street Journal article today explaining that some HSA plans actually cost more than high-deductible plans without the tax shelter. That's because HSAs, for all their faults, actually do have some regulations, do generally cover preventive care, and do limit out-of-pocket expenses. All this has certain insurers worrying that HSAs will attract folks who actually want to use the health care system, at least compared to even more skeletal plans.

But fear not, as the Journal notes, "insurers say that if evidence emerges that consumers with HSAs use less health care than consumers with other plans, the prices on HSA plans are likely to become more attractive relative to other plans." Reminds me of a comment I heard Paul Krugman make earlier today: "We�ve developed a system where companies and insurers devote a lot of energy to identifying who really needs insurance in order not to give it to them." Now that's market-driven health care.

--Ezra Klein

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