Monday, November 16, 2020
Racial/Ethnic And Income-Based Disparities In Health Savings Account Participation Among Privately Insured Adults | Health Affairs
Racial/Ethnic And Income-Based Disparities In Health Savings Account Participation Among Privately Insured Adults | Health Affairs Comment by Don McCanne "High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are promoted as a means to make patients more prudent shoppers of health care by making them responsible for upfront costs. But it has been well documented that these out-of-pocket costs have caused patients to forgo beneficial health care that they should have. To counter this adverse consequence, health savings accounts (HSAs) have been promoted to cover the upfront expenses. The problem here is that too many people do not have HSAs, and, if they do, the accounts frequently remain unfunded. This study confirms that increases in HDHP enrollment have occurred in all income and racial/ethnic groups, whereas "Black, Hispanic, and low-income HDHP enrollees were significantly less likely than their White and higher-income counterparts to participate in HSAs." The consequences are obvious. Since those who have the greatest need for HSAs are less likely to have them, it is more likely that they will be unable to afford essential upfront health care services and then suffer the adverse health and financial consequences as a result. Thus this study confirms that HDHPs and HSAs are yet one more example of institutional racism since they have a disproportionate negative impact on Black, Hispanic, and low-income individuals. We could make progress in countering institutional racism by enacting and implementing a well designed, single payer, improved Medicare for All. Maybe we don't have to call active opponents of Medicare for All racists, but we could let them know that their position does support institutional racism. Hopefully enough of them would be sensitive enough to that issue that they might take a more serious look at Medicare for All."
Posted by Craig at 6:48 AM