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"Health Savings Accounts" coming soon

By Dave Thompson

Bismarck, ND – Blue Cross-Blue Shield of North Dakota will soon begin offering "health savings accounts."

Blues vice-president Larry Gauper says that's a way to help keep health insurance premiums down.

Gauper says employees -- or their companies -- will be able to set aside some money -- a couple of thousand dollars for an individual, up to $5-thousand per family -- in an interest-bearing health savings account. The individuals would use that for medical expenses. Then, the employer or employee would purchase a high-deductible health insurance plan to go along with that.

"The idea behind it is the individual has more direct dollar involvement in buying health-care services," said Gauper. "And that, they hope, will influence the market, because it puts the decision more in the patient's area because they're spending their actual money."

Gauper says businesses have complained about rising premiums -- and this is a way they can provide coverage at a more moderate cost.