Although they have been available for less than two years, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have already made a positive difference for the many individuals and small businesses that use them to access health care coverage and save for future medical expenses. Today, about 3.2 million people have HSAs and, contrary to critics' predictions, it's a diverse group- not just the young, healthy, and well-off. In fact, about a third of those who have bought HSA-compatible insurance since HSAs began to be offered were previously uninsured.


Over the past two years, I have heard from Wisconsinites who have greatly reduced their health care costs using HSAs. For some small businesses that couldn't otherwise afford it, HSAs have made it possible for them to offer health benefits to their employees.

We need to keep up this progress and make HSAs an even more accessible and affordable tool for consumers. Increasing HSA contribution limits and allowing people to deduct premiums for HSA-compatible plans are just two of the improvements we can make to further this goal and empower consumers.

The other side of the equation is making sure that consumers can easily find accurate, up-to-date information about the prices different health care providers charge and the quality of care that hospitals and doctors provide. Armed with reliable quality and price data, people will be able to make informed choices about how they spend the health care dollars they save through HSAs. That's why transparency is critical to optimizing HSAs.