With strong bipartisan support, the Ohio House of Representatives today passed Amended House Bill 97 to require the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to make a high-deductible health care plan available to state employees and state elected officials.

Additionally, Am. H.B. 97—which was sponsored by Rep. Richard Hollington (R-Chagrin Falls)—requires any individual who selects a high deductible health care plan offered by the state to establish a Health Savings Account (HSA). It also requires the state to make a monthly deposit into the individual’s health savings account that equals 80 percent of the difference between the state’s contribution for a standard deductible health care plan and a high-deductible health care plan. The HSA belongs to the employee and may be used for any qualified medical expense.

“Implementing a Health Savings Account in Ohio will save significant tax dollars by causing consumers to be more mindful of costs and overutilization,” said State Representative Lynn R. Wachtmann (R-Napoleon), who serves as the chairman of the House Health and Aging Committee.

An HSA permits the use of pre-tax dollars in the payment of medical expenses, which gives consumers the most benefit from their health plans. It also gives consumers more control over their funds while allowing them to pay lower medical insurance premiums. At age 65 the HSA may be used for any purpose, just like an IRA.

The State of Indiana recently implemented a similar HSA plan that was estimated to save the taxpayers approximately $8 million in 2010. Representative Wachtmann believes that comparable savings could be realized in the State of Ohio with the establishment of an HSA.

Am. H.B. 97 will now move to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.


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