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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tax-Advantaged Accounts for Health Care Expenses: Side-by-Side Comparison

Carol Rapaport
Analyst in Health Care Financing

Four types of tax-advantaged accounts can be used to pay for unreimbursed medical expenses: health care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs), Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs). Unreimbursed medical expenses typically include deductibles, copayments, and goods and/or services not covered by insurance. Although these accounts share some common features, they also differ in important respects.

This report provides brief summaries of the four accounts and compares them with respect to eligibility, contribution limits, use of funds, and other characteristics for tax year 2010. The report then discusses changes to the accounts resulting from the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148 as amended). The final section of the report covers participation levels in these accounts. The report will be updated when relevant statutory or regulatory changes occur, when new data become available, and as Congress considers issues associated with these accounts.

Date of Report: June 18, 2010
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: RS21573
Price: $29.95

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