Matthew Holt has an excellent post on why HSA's won't solve our insurance blues:
We have had “cheap” high deductible insurance products for years and years. I personally have had one off and on since 1998 and they were around for long before that. And as the old high deductible “major medical” policies were around when health care was cheaper, and therefore were less expensive than they are now, according to Hubbard’s logic we should never have had any uninsured in the first place. And yet in California we have more than 6 million uninsured who somehow have failed to buy one. Is it possible that price isn’t the only issue here?
He's absolutely correct -- most people envision health insurance as something that covers medical expenses. The majority of people with catastrophic plans aren't going to see their worse-case scenario of $50,000 medical bills. What they will see are cases of the flu, annual exams, random aches or pains. And catastrophic plans don't cover those expenses.
Besides the fact that certain aspects of these plans are unappealing, there's no evidence that HSA's are going to solve our "uninsured problem". Studies estimate that 2.9 million more people will enroll in health insurance via HSA-type plans. That's 2.9 out of our 46 million uninsured, or approximately 6%.
Make no mistake, HSA's will be lauded as a cure-all in tomorrow's SOTU. They're anything but.