Health savings accounts are tomorrow’s 401(k) — consider yourself warned

Lynn Asinof’s piece on health savings accounts hints at the upcoming mischief on the part of Republicans rabid to replace the Affordable Care Act (“A breakout year for health savings accounts?” Business, Jan. 8). She notes that HSAs are of little or no benefit to workers with low tax liability. But there are two looming dangers.

First, Republicans run true to form by promising something that is beneficial to all Americans but in reality benefits the wealthy the most. The higher your tax rate, the more you get out of HSAs. The less you need the benefit, the more you gain. This would be a stealth companion to the more blatant plans to give the rich a big income tax cut.

Second, and more insidious, this looks like the beginning of the end for employer-sponsored health insurance. Recently Ted Benna, one of the progenitors of the 401(k), expressed regret for the real-world results of that plan, which seems to have enabled employers to cheapen or eliminate traditional pensions. In a similar fashion, HSAs can put a higher financial and disciplinary burden on workers, while employers shift to high-deductible health plans that are cheaper for them.


We have seen this movie before, and it didn’t end well.

Fred Ehrhardt, Lynnfield