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President Bush proposes HSAs scheme for the benefit of both the workers and the country

ment. The president is proposing a tax credit for all those who buy HSA-eligible, high-deductible health insurance on their own rather than from their employers. He also plans to increase the minimum amount that should be invested in the savings account.

But problems may arise due to the lack of available, objective information about the cost and quality of health care providers, facilities and procedures. Hence Haugh said that transparency in pricing is very essential.

Jim Wilhite, director of compensation and benefits at Baker Hughes, said that the oil services are offering HSAs to their employees and that 70 of its 12,900 employees have signed up. This low rate is due to the lack of good information about health care for consumers. Hence medical community should step forward in providing vital information about to the employees.

Laugharn also said that workers generally don't like high-deductible plans and would rather prefer their monthly premiums. This is seen in the case of Continental Airlines.

Mike Ellis, senior director of benefits and compensation at Continental, said that due to the diverse work force certain decisions have to be made which will benefit a large percentage of the employees.

At Baker Hughes, Lisa Turner, the benefits supervisor said that the number of workers enrolling in high-deductible plans has doubled in the current year. But the number is still low with just 350 workers. The majority of them are enrolled in the company's lower-deductible preferred provider organization.

Critics of HSAs say the accounts favor the wealthy, who generally have more money to sock away in savings accounts and who more easily can afford high deductibles. The Consumers Union decried the plans and the proposals.

Bill Vaughan, senior policy analyst for Consumers Union, said that the tax detections do nothing as most of them are in the zero or 10 % tax bracket.

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