Small Business Administration promotes benefits of Health Savings Accounts

President George W. Bush and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Acting Administrator Sandy K. Baruah met in Oklahoma City earlier this month with women small business owners to discuss the benefits of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which can be used to obtain affordable healthcare coverage.

An HSA is a tax-preferred account owned by an individual and used to pay for current and future medical expenses, including deductibles, co-payments and other forms of cost-sharing.

President Bush and Administrator Baruah participated in a roundtable discussion at SBA’s Women’s Business Center with local women entrepreneurs.
They listened to first-hand testimony of women business owners who are currently benefiting from these accounts, and those who are considering them.
Both leaders highlighted the many benefits of Health Savings Accounts and answered questions for those who have yet to start these HSAs.

“In my roles at the U.S. Dept. of Commerce and now as head of the SBA, I have met with many small business owners throughout the country, and they have shared their concerns with me. A topic that always arises is the rising cost of health care. Health Savings Accounts provide small business owners and the self-employed with an affordable option to health care coverage,” said Baruah.

A roundtable discussion at the conference was a joint effort of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the National Economic Council and the Department of the Treasury to promote the benefits of Health Savings Accounts. This joint effort uses many resources to educate the small business community of the benefits of Health Savings Accounts.

A new Web site www.hsa.gov has been developed as an online resource for small businesses and individuals considering Health Savings Accounts. Also, SBA, NEC and Treasury have produced a fact sheet highlighting the benefits of Health Savings Accounts. SBA will distribute the fact sheet to its district offices and resource partners as a greater outreach effort to promote Health Savings Accounts.

In addition to www.hsa.gov and the fact sheet, an online training module outlining the basics of Health Savings Accounts will be available for small businesses and individuals.

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Editors: A Fact Sheet on Health Savings Accounts is below:

Health Savings Account Fact Sheet

As the cost of health care coverage continues to rise, Health Savings Accounts provide access to affordable health care coverage for small business owners, employees, and the self employed.

• A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax preferred account owned by an individual used to pay for current and future medical expenses, including deductibles, co-payments and other forms of cost-sharing.

• HSAs are funded by tax deductible contributions. Both employees and employers may contribute to the employees’ HSA, which is different from other tax-preferred health care coverage which limits contributions to only one party.

• HSAs are available to individuals covered by HSA-eligible health plans, like high deductible plans and other consumer-directed health plans.

• HSAs are portable, meaning that the individual has ownership of the resources in the HSA. An individual is not dependent on a particular employer, should the individual change jobs or become unemployed. Instead, the HSA travels with the individual.

• Individuals with HSAs have flexibility to use their HSA account funds to pay for current medical expenses or save the money in the account to pay for future medical expenses.

• Today’s health-care environment often presents high or unexpected bills.
HSAs matched with the individuals HSA-eligible insurance provide security against high or unexpected bills.

• Since the HSA is owned by the individual, the individual has control over the account. This lets the individual make all decisions about the account; including how much to put in the account, whether to save the account for future expenses or for current medical expenses, which medical expenses to pay with the account, and which company will hold the account.

• For small business owners, HSAs avoid the administrative time and costs, since employees self-administer their HSA.

• Small business owners can determine how much they want to contribute to their employees’ accounts and are able to choose the frequency with which they make such contributions. No minimum contributions are required.

For more information on HSAs, visit
www.hsa.gov

Co-sponsorship Authorization # 08-2110-110 SBA’s participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.

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