The news release said the consumer-driven plan is currently available through the Guardian Destiny alliance to employers in Illinois, Virginia and Washington D.C.
According to the announcement, the HSAs:
- help offset escalating health insurance premiums
- give employees greater control and personal choice in their health care
- provide value to employees, whether they are sick or well in a given year.
Employers and employees can contribute pre-tax dollars into the accounts (up to $2,600 for an individual and $5,150 for a family in 2004), and the money can be used to pay for any qualified medical expense, including over-the-counter medicines. Interest on HSAs is tax-free and unused funds roll over from year to year. Most important, the accounts are owned by the employee and move with that individual should he or she change jobs or retire.
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