MILWAUKEE--Fortis Health signed its first individual medical Health Savings Account (HSA) policy, believed to be the first HSA policy in the country. The policy, which was opened by an individual residing in Aurora, Ill., is the first of the estimated over 40 million HSA accounts that will be established in the next 10 years, according to congressional analysts. Beginning January 1, 2004, Fortis Health will offer comprehensive HSA products for individuals and small groups through Fortis Insurance Company and John Alden Life Insurance Company.

HSAs, the newest concept in the health insurance market, will make health insurance more affordable by allowing consumers to save money in a tax-free account to pay for health care costs. Individuals with self-only policies can make a pre-tax annual contribution of $2,600 and families can make an annual contribution of up to $5,150 into a HSA account. HSAs were approved by Congress as part of the Medicare Prescription & Modernization Act on December 8 and will not only increase health insurance options, but also help consumers control their own health care costs.

"The recent passage of the Medicare Reform legislation is a critical moment for healthcare in America. Included in that legislation are Health Savings Accounts, an innovative approach to paying for healthcare in which consumers are offered more flexibility, choice and tax advantages," said Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, sponsor of the legislation. "This is an extraordinary step in the ever-changing landscape of healthcare in our nation that will give people more options and affordability in making their healthcare decisions."

"As a leader in helping Americans meet their health insurance needs, Fortis Health is happy to now offer HSAs that will provide consumers with additional affordable and beneficial health care options," said Don Hamm, president and chief executive officer of Fortis Health.

Additionally, unlike Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs), HSAs have fewer restrictions, are available to all Americans and are much easier to use. Another benefit of HSAs is that they are portable. Since the account is owned by the individual, a person with an individual medical or small group insurance policy can maintain the account even if there is a change of employers.

Source: Fortis Health  


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