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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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Group health savings account insurance

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posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date.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 a retirees group, which obtains health insurance in conjunction with active employees for a City workforce. Some of us have been asking the retiree's group Administrator and Pension Board to look into getting those of us between the ages of 55 & 65, info. on HSAs since the beginning of 2004, without any luck. So, I have struck out on my own to find someone who handles these HSA accounts. The bank I have been dealing with, 1st HSA, has been told that I have not got an individually PURCHASED policy. Rather, that we, as a group of retirees, are, each Fall offered different types of coverage, ranging from HMOs to individual & family plans with High Deductibles. I have individual coverage with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. The policy premiums are deducted from my pension check by the retiree's group Administrator, and sent, along with all other retiree's premiums, who have elected that insurance each month, to the company. Is the fact that I am in a group, a reason I would be disqualified from establishing an HSA.

A: It does not make any difference whether your policy is a group or individual type. To qualify for a health savings account, the policy must meet the deductible and out-of-pocket limits prescribed in the tax law. If your former employer has not adapted a group HSA policy option, this probably means that a) your Blue Cross association does not offer this option, or b) the benefits are subject to negotiation (through a union, for example) and the employer may not unilaterally make changes to health benefits. Unions have not embraced HSAs because they result in a direct reduction of health insurance benefits without an equivalent guarantee of non-insurance benefits through the HSA account.


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