HSAs Getting A Closer Look

President Bush's push for health-savings accounts (HSAs) as an alternative to traditional health-care plans received some support from a recent study that shows nearly half of 283 companies surveyed believe consumer-driven health care will transform health-care management at their companies.

"As may be expected, we found that CDH (consumer-driven health care) is a dynamic, fast-growing innovation still in its infancy," says Alan Cohen, CEO of OnlineBenefits Inc., the Uniondale, N.Y., human resources solutions company that commissioned the study. "While early adopters have proven the benefits of the concept, the vast majority of managers have little more than the awareness of the general concepts. We have no doubt that many companies will implement CDH in the coming year, despite the steep learning curve ahead of them."

The study, conducted by Winchester, Mass.-based Performance Management International, shows that large businesses (39%) are the most likely to offer an HSA, followed by small businesses (34%) and medium-sized companies (27%).

Although one-third of the companies surveyed say they plan to offer a CDH option, many aren't sure how effective they will be. Of those surveyed, 18% said they were skeptical about the benefits of CDH programs while only 14% expressed a perceived benefit. Some (34%) companies said they think CDH will help somewhat and others (31%) said they weren't sure whether CDH will be beneficial.

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