A majority of employers and benefits administrators would prefer that workers invest in health savings accounts (HSAs), instead of Medicare for All, according to a survey by HSA provider HealthSavings Administrators.

During September 2019, the company surveyed 270 benefits professionals online.

Three-quarters of respondents (76%) said they did not support Medicare for All, a proposed national health insurance plan for all Americans that has previously been introduced in Congress, but never signed into law. 

As a result of increased public support for national health coverage, several Democratic candidates running for president in 2020 have made Medicare for All part of their campaign platform.

A near-unanimous majority of respondents (85%), however, said they supported H.R. 3796, known as the Health Savings for Seniors Act, which would give Medicare beneficiaries access to health savings accounts and their associated tax benefits as a means of managing rising short-term and long-term health-care costs.

Alison Moore, HealthSavings' vice president of marketing, said in an e-mail, “We wondered if employers were ready to throw in the towel on employee health benefits and support a Medicare for All type approach. According to the survey, that doesn’t appear to be the case.”

Financial Advisor asked Moore how HSAs, rather than Medicare for All, help struggling younger people pay the rising cost of their health care, and not just seniors.

“HSAs help people of all ages save money through the triple tax advantage,” she said. “The money goes into the account before taxes; it can be used for qualified medical expenses tax-free; and it can grow tax free for use at a later date.”

Moore compared the way HSAs control health-care costs with the way Medicare for All reportedly would, regulating by establishing a set fee for each approved procedure.

“Because an HSA account is dispensed by the consumer, not the government, account holders are more likely to compare costs for various services and be more thoughtful about how they can make the most of their health-care dollars,” she said.

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