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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Maryland Health Savings Account

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: I am in need of a HSA qualified health plan in Maryland. I already have an HSA and insurance in place but am looking around at replacing it. My current insurer has consistently raised my premiums to the point where it currently charges me over $150/month more for my policy relative to it's new policies available. The insurer claims "that's the way it is" and to qualify for the new policy and it's "teaser" rates (which would surely go back up to the current level) I would have to leave the insurer for more than 6 months but still show evidence of insurability at that time. We are a family of 4, excellent health.

A: Health Savings Accounts are just not a good deal in Maryland and you are fighting a difficult battle against market forces by persisting in this strategy. If possible, try a Health Reimbursement Account or Flexible Spending Account instead. You raise several important points in your question that deserve response: First, HSAs are simply not a good deal for residents of Maryland due the unique makeup of the health insurance market. The premium savings is not large enough to justify the added risk you assume in taking a high deductible policy. The most popular low deductible policies in Maryland cost almost the same as your high deductible policy. This is because a few managed care insurance companies control the majority of the market and their pricing does not favor HSAs. Few Maryland residents have adapted a health savings account. Second, you mention the insurance practice of experience rating. This is a legal practice, but in our opinion, unethical. We simply suggest that you avoid any insurance company with unethical practices. If you dig deeper, you may find that this is not the only ethical problem with your insurance company. You did not name the insurance company in your question but its infamous reputation makes the identify obvious. A record number of consumers made complaints about this and other issues about this insurance company in 2004 and 2005, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports so take the hint and move away from this company. If you are one of the few who will persist with the HSA in Maryland, then any of the national account administrators listed at will be able to open the account separately from the insurance to allow you to make a change of insurance while still keeping the HSA intact.


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