Health Highlights: April 15, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008; 12:00 AM

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors ofHealthDay:

Many Uninsured Can't Meet Cost-Sharing Requirements for HSAs

Many uninsured American households don't have enough financial assets to cover the cost-sharing in consumer-driven health plans tied to health savings accounts (HSAs), says a Kaiser Family Foundation study that looked at 2004 data.

Researchers looked at the asset levels of households with two or more uninsured members and compared that to the range of cost-sharing features in HSA-qualified health plans. Among their findings: 33 percent of households with at least two uninsured members had gross financial assets of at least $2,000, the minimum deductible for an HSA-qualified family plan in 2004, and only 9 percent of those households had enough assets to cover the out-of-pocket maximum of $10,000.

Overall, the study showed a large gap in terms of financial assets between uninsured and insured households.

"Although lower premiums may increase the ability of the uninsured to buy some coverage, high out-of-pocket liability may leave families exposed to costs that they cannot meet," the study authors wrote in an abstract.

The study was published online by the journalHealth Affairs.


Bisphenol A May Be Listed as Dangerous Substance in Canada

Health Canada is expected to declare bisphenol A a dangerous substance, theGlobe and Mailreported Tuesday. It would be the first regulatory body in the world to make that determination and to take steps to control human exposure to the chemical.

Bisphenol A is one of the most widely used synthetic chemicals in the world and is found in a wide range of products. Experts are concerned about the use of the hormonally active chemical in food and beverage containers.

"Bishphenol A is in every Canadian home. It threatens the health of every Canadian. Moving against it would be a hugely significant victory for public health and the environment," Rick Smith, executive director of the group Environmental Defence, told theGlobe and Mail.

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