Aetna says it will offer health savings accounts, a new form of tax-deductible savings accounts created by the Medicare bill that President Bush signed on Monday.
Starting Jan. 1, HSAs will be available to employees at companies of all sizes, the Hartford, Conn.-based company says. Their forerunners, medical savings accounts, were available only to the self-employed and firms with less than 50 employees.
Aetna says it will offer HSAs as a complement to its consumer-directed product, Aetna HealthFund, which has 45,000 members enrolled in high-deductible health plans with a savings account.
Aetna, which now has 13 million medical members, estimates that the new HSA product will add 100,000 more members.
"Health savings accounts are a significant new option in the consumer-directed continuum that provides consumers with another opportunity to better plan for and fund their current and retiree health care expenses," says Aetna President Ronald Williams in a release.
Before the bill passed, the UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health insurer, completed its purchase for $500 million of Lawrenceville, Ill.-based Golden Rule Insurance Co., a pioneer in selling medical savings accounts, which United had announced in September.